• Germany's news in English

Study shows pharmacies hand out drugs without prescriptions

The Local · 31 Mar 2009, 15:31

Published: 31 Mar 2009 15:31 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

In a nationwide test of 20 pharmacy chains, clients were able to obtain prescription drugs from most of them – all without a doctor’s note, according to a report from daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Tuesday.

Test clients for the fall 2008 study were not regular customers at the pharmacies, all of which belong to the Federal Union of German Associations of Pharmacists (ABDA). In each case, the test customer explained to the pharmacist why they needed a prescription drug, despite being unable to provide a prescription from a doctor.

Test customers requested the stomach medications Riopan and Omeprazol, and in 25 percent of the pharmacies tested, the medication was provided despite a number of dangerous possible side effects.

“The pharmacist just said that I should bring in the prescription later,” one of the test customers noted.

In tests involving other medications, such as thyroid medication L-Thyroxin, only six pharmacies refused to give out the prescription, while the others did not ask for the prescription note.

“The pharmacist offered me a pack of 50 pills without hesitation,” one of the test customers told the paper. “She grabbed the package out of the drawer and just handed it to me.”

For female test customers who requested the pill, saying their gynaecologists were on vacation, only eight of 20 pharmacies insisted on prescription notes.

“I try to determine which situation the customer is really in,” one pharmacist told the paper, adding that if a product had “potential for danger” or “possibility for abuse,” he would not sell it without a prescription.

Story continues below…

Despite the study results, there has been no public discussion of the illegal practice, the paper said, emphasising that it’s not a problem customers would likely complain about.

“Naturally, it’s something that has a certain element of political explosiveness,” a source from the legal department of one of the state pharmacy offices said.

Meanwhile the state pharmacy office in Baden-Württemberg reacted to the news of more tests planned in the Heilbronn area in with a “president’s letter” to all area pharmacies. Test customers’ profiles were described in detail, though the letter added: “We ask you to treat every patient or client as if they were a test customer.”

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd