Petition for a ban on the dispatch of prescription drugs

Pharmacy student Benedikt Bühler is fighting with a collection of signatures for the ban on shipping prescription drugs. The promotion runs until August 13th

A pharmacy student wants to ban the mail order business with prescription drugs

© Shutterstock / Freedomz

The federal cabinet recently approved a reform package for pharmacies. Not included in the bill, which is to go to the Bundestag after the summer break, is the ban on mail order sales of prescription drugs. A ban is not up-to-date and "under European law, but also politically imponderable," said Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) at the end of last year.

This annoys many pharmacists in Germany. And also the pharmacy student Benedikt Bühler. The 20-year-old from Karlsruhe is fighting for the mail order ban. With a petition, he now wants to call on the federal government to implement the coalition agreement, which says: "In order to strengthen local pharmacies, we are campaigning for a ban on mail order sales of prescription drugs."

German pharmacies at a disadvantage compared to mail order companies

The background: on-site pharmacies are currently at a disadvantage compared to mail order pharmacies. In 2016, the European Court of Justice allowed EU mail order companies to give German customers discounts. The pharmacies in this country are not allowed to do this, however, since fixed prices for prescription drugs are stipulated in the Medicines Act, which they must adhere to.

For the initiator, the ban on the mail-order sale of prescription drugs is "the most promising way of ensuring equality of price and thus ensuring that patients are supplied by the local pharmacies." Only through retail pharmacies can "nationwide, comprehensive patient care with night and emergency services, the production of individual prescriptions and much more be ensured," says the text of the petition.

The petition can still be signed until August 13th

It has been online since July 17th. The signing period ends on August 13, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. The petition can be viewed online at https://epetUNGEN.bundestag.de under the ID 94089 in the "Petitions Forum" of the German Bundestag or signed online. Many pharmacies are also taking part in the campaign: their customers can sign on-site.

For the petition to have a chance, it needs at least 50,000 signatories. If the petition reaches this quorum, the Petitions Committee usually deals with it and examines how the matter should be dealt with.

Law to strengthen on-site pharmacies is making progress

At the same time, the parliamentary procedure for the pharmacy reform package will probably continue. With the law to strengthen on-site pharmacies, the Federal Minister of Health wants to move the price fixing from the Drugs Act to the Social Security Code. So he tries to withdraw access to the European Commission.

For those with statutory health insurance, the same price for prescription drugs should apply again from 2020. Regardless of whether you purchase them from an on-site pharmacy or via mail order. This does not apply to privately insured persons and self-payers. The Federal Association of German Pharmacy Associations (ABDA) supports the draft, as it does not assume that a dispatch ban in the Bundestag would get a majority at the moment.

Keep mail order ban as an option

In a letter to pharmacists in Germany, ABDA President Friedemann Schmidt wrote at the end of July 2019: "The ban on shipping prescription drugs should be retained as a political option in the future if the on-site pharmacies are not due to the current legislative proposal be strengthened sufficiently. "