Compulsory pharmacy

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The pharmacy obligation , also known as the pharmacy monopoly , is a delimitation of the sale of drugs . Marked medications may only in pharmacies and there only by pharmaceutical staff to the end user are delivered.


With a few exceptions, pharmaceuticals in Germany are subject to pharmacy requirements by law; There is still a self-service ban for pharmacy-only goods ( Section 17, Paragraph 3 of the Pharmacy Operating Regulations ) in order to give cause for a consultation, since pharmaceuticals are generally to be viewed as goods in particular need of advice. In addition to drugs, a few medical devices are also subject to pharmacy- only ( Section 2 of the Medical Devices Dispensing Ordinance ).

The simple pharmacy obligation is regulated in Germany according to § 43 Medicinal Products Act (AMG), exceptions as well as the authorization to further exemptions from the pharmacy obligation and the authorization to expand the pharmacy obligation are regulated in Sections 44-46 AMG. The specific decision on the pharmacy obligation of a drug is made by the competent federal ministry after hearing experts through statutory ordinance ; the Federal Council must approve the ordinance.

"Required for pharmacy" is printed on the drug packaging to indicate if the drug is available in pharmacies without a prescription. If the drug is also subject to a prescription, the pack is not marked with “pharmacy-only” but with “ prescription- only ”. Nevertheless, the pharmacy obligation also applies to these drugs.


In the Netherlands, the dispensing of medicines is regulated in Article 61 of the Geneesmiddelenwet (Medicines Act). For funds in the UR and UA categories, dispensing is only permitted either by a pharmacy or an appropriately authorized family doctor. Certain other, non-prescription drugs are allowed either in pharmacies or under the supervision of a chemist in drugstores (category UAD) or in sales outlets outside of pharmacies, e.g. B. in the supermarket (category AV).


In Austria, the pharmacy obligation is regulated by the Medicines Act (AMG). In principle, drugs may only be dispensed by pharmacies (Section 59), although exceptions are possible here (Sections 57, 58). A special feature is the right to dispense , which general practitioners in remote communities can be granted under certain conditions if there is no pharmacy there. In order to ensure the care of the patients there, the pharmacy law then allows the operation of a medical house pharmacy , from which the doctor can supply his patients with medicines.


Since 2010, certain non-prescription medicines have been exempted from pharmacy requirements in Sweden. Their sales in the first year amounted to 614 million SEK, which was 15 percent of the total sales of non-prescription drug sales in Sweden.


In Switzerland, the Therapeutic Products Act (HMG) regulates which medicinal products may be dispensed where. There is a five-tier dispensing system: the patients receive the prescription drugs of categories A and B either from their doctor or in a pharmacy, category C drugs do not require a prescription, but can only be purchased in pharmacies. Category D drugs can also be dispensed by chemists after advice, and all other drugs are available in retail outlets without specialist advice (Category E).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. BVerwG, judgment of October 18, 2012 - 3 C November 25
  2. dpa : Medicines: Court prohibits self-service in pharmacies Der Spiegel , October 18, 2012
  3. Geneesmiddelenwet: Hoofdstuk 6. Terhandstelling van geneesmiddelen en het voorschrijven daarvan , accessed on January 22, 2010 (Dutch)
  4. Geneesmiddelenwet: Hoofdstuk I.estripsbepalingen en reikwijdte , accessed on February 27, 2011 (Dutch)
  5. Sweden: Pharmacy market is reorganizing. In: The Pharmaceutical Industry , Volume 73, No. 10, 2011, p. 1852
  6. Federal Act on Drugs and Medical Devices (Therapeutic Products Act, HMG) (PDF file; 198 kB) of December 15, 2000 (as of July 1, 2009)