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At the end of June, the Gesundheitsausschuss des Bundestages reached a majority verdict, voting against the proposed ban on the sale of prescription drugs by mail order pharmacies. A second review of the proposal will take place in late September.

If the state decides to block the law in its entirety again, further important regulations for pharmacies will be further delayed. In addition to the recent ban on prescription bonuses, another example is legislation over the powers of doctors. More specifically, whether they can leave palliative patients with the required prescriptions – and the decision whether to take the medicine or not – and the consequent documentation duties for pharmacists.  

Commentary: Just recently, the federal government has created a level playing field for foreign and German pharmacies, with the removal of prescription bonuses. The ban on the sale of prescription drugs by mail order would be another step towards strengthening local chemists.

On the other hand, if this ban was would be agreed upon, it would leave mail order pharmacies at a clear competitive disadvantage: in 2012, prescription products made up a total of 6% of all mail order drugs. In particular, those companies currently for sale, DocMorris and Vitalsana, are seeing the value of their business erode.

Potential buyers will need to consider the impact of the legislation at any rate in their calculation and estimate how much a ban will be reflected in the balance sheets of the affected online pharmacies. 

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