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Medicine: “More than one pharmacy disappears from the market every day”

Medicine: “More than one pharmacy disappears from the market every day”

Many pharmacies in Germany are in a difficult financial situation. According to a leading service provider in the industry, the decline in pharmacies will not be stopped without higher fees.

A large pharmacy service provider has once again drawn attention to the dwindling number of pharmacies in Germany on the occasion of an action day.

“More than one pharmacy disappears from the market every day, the exact number is 1.36,” said Mark Böhm, board member of the Munich-based pharmacy-owned company Noventi. “In 2023, there were only 17,571 pharmacies in Germany. Since the beginning of the year, another 142 branches have closed their doors.” The Munich-based company handles, among other things, the billing of prescriptions. According to the company, 8,000 pharmacies are customers, and the owner is the FSA association, an association of pharmacies.

Pharmacy density worse than in Europe

The manager complained that the density of pharmacies in Germany is now significantly worse than in Europe. The fact that pharmacies have to close for economic reasons particularly affects pharmacies in cities, as customers are more attached to their local pharmacy in rural areas.

The industry has been drawing attention to its concerns on “Pharmacy Day” (June 7) since 1998. Böhm called for a fee increase. “Digitization costs local pharmacies an enormous amount of money. They have to reposition themselves in order to be able to offer new services,” he said. Currently, a pharmacist can charge 8.35 euros per prescription drug. “Twelve euros would be necessary.”

Allow pharmacies without pharmacists?

The company rejects plans by Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) to allow pharmacies without pharmacists in the future as “completely unacceptable”. “It would also distort competition to the detriment of large pharmacies, which would then have to provide all services.”

The electronic prescription implemented by Lauterbach, on the other hand, works from Noventi’s point of view. “The e-prescription rate at Noventi was 72.8 percent in April 2024 and around 70 percent in May,” said Böhm. “We have billed over 66 million e-prescriptions since the beginning of the year up to and including May.”

Source: Stern

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