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Why are pharmacies across Germany planning to strike for a day?

Sarah Magill
Sarah Magill - [email protected]
Why are pharmacies across Germany planning to strike for a day?
A sign with the pharmacy logo hangs above the entrance to a pharmacy in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Monika Skolimowska

On Wednesday, June 14th, most pharmacies throughout Germany will be closed as pharmacists take part in a day of protest.

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Many pharmacies in Germany are currently grappling with a range of challenges, including supply shortages, staff shortages, under-funding, excessive bureaucracy and a lack of support from the federal government.

As a result, many will remain closed on June 14th as they participate in a day of strike action to raise awareness of the situation. 

"For our profession, it is clear: the federal government has provoked this protest day," said Gabriele Regina Overwiening, President of the Federal Union of German Associations of Pharmacists (ABDA).

"By repeatedly neglecting the problems faced by public pharmacies in their legislative initiatives, the federal government is destabilising medication supply in Germany".

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For weeks, regional pharmacist associations have been calling for protests as many are concerned about the impending demise of local pharmacies, as they face excessive bureaucracy, stagnant fees despite rising costs and medication bottlenecks. In many areas, local pharmacies have been forced to shut down, and there is a trend towards larger, more profitable establishments.

"Pharmacies have to close every day. Graduates in our field are increasingly unable to envision starting their own businesses, primarily due to the lack of economic prospects. We need to draw attention to this," Overwiening said.

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As well as closing their shops, pharmacists will also march through the government district in Berlin, passing by the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Health.

This year's "Day of the Pharmacy" on June 7th will also be marked by political protests.

Stagnating wages

Dr. Hans-Peter Hubmann, Chairman of the German Pharmacists Association (DAV) also pointed out that pharmacists have not received any wage increases in the past ten years despite rising costs and inflation.

"This cannot continue. We urgently need to draw the attention of the public and politicians to our difficult situation....we must show society the importance of pharmacies in healthcare provision and how dramatic it would be if more pharmacies, as reliable and social local points of contact, were to disappear forever".

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