Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Internet Pharmacy in Germany

This article has nothing to do with Canada, but I thought it was interesting to provide some perspective regarding how the internet is changing the way pharmacy operates around the world.

There are definite parallels. A pharmacy in a smaller, more liberal country is trying to sell inexpensive product in a larger neighbouring nation with higher drug prices, but are encountering heavy resistance from a powerful lobby group within the larger country. However, the independent pharmacist plays vastly different roles. Canadian pharmacists have tried to use internet pharmacy to change the business of pharmacy but in Germany they are the powerful establishment trying to maintain the status quo.

From Deutsche Welle:
In Germany, where drug prices are higher than the rest of Europe, certified pharmacists have a virtual monopoly on the sale of over-the-counter and prescription drugs. So when DocMorris, Europe's first mail order pharmacy opened its first affiliate in the western city of Saarbr├╝cken last July and sold non-prescription medication at discount prices, competitors forced the state courts to shut it down in September.

Now, nearly four months later, the Dutch Internet retailer and pharmacy chain wants to get around the German Pharmacy Act, which does not permit corporate entities to sell drugs and limits ownership to three branches that must be in close proximity to each other, by paying pharmacy owners licensing fees to sell its products. ...more

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