The most significant competitive advantage that foreign mail order pharmacies had is being made obsolete with the judgment of the Joint Senate of the Supreme Courts last week. „Foreign mail order pharmacies have in the future to keep the German drug price regulation,“ was the verdict of the judges, which was announced on Wednesday evening. Thus, the granting of a bonus on prescription drugs from foreign mail order pharmacies will soon history. The health minister wants the amendment by an adaptation of § 78 in the Medicines Act in effect by the 1st October.
Many market experts had not expected this ruling, following the conflicting views of the Federal Court and the Federal Social Court, where the latter ruled that for foreign mail-order pharmacies, the German drug price regulation does not apply. If two of the highest German courts reach conflicting judgments, the Joint Senate of the Supreme Courts is required to provide clarity. In conclusion, therefore, the judge declared that there should be no discrimination for German and foreign pharmacies.
In particular, the business models of Europa-Apotheek and Online-Apotheke DocMorris were based on this last remaining inequality of participants in the market. Very aggressively, market participants have exploited the price advantage, consisting of a reduction of prescription charges of an amount of up to EUR 15 for prescription drugs on their websites. For these providers, the proportion of prescription drugs of total sales was higher than that of the entire RX Pharmacy delivery business. The question is how companies respond to the new legislation, and what alternative strategies they introduce to counteract the imminent loss of delivery orders. On their website, DocMorris proclaimed under „News“ that the company continues to offer prescription bonuses, creating savings for consumers in the future. However, the implementation of this advertisement will already be seen as a violation of the law by other market participants, and how DocMorris will position themselves as a consequence remains to be seen.
Should the affected companies not be able to implement an alternative strategy that is legally compliant in the future, it can be assumed that it was a key selling point and thus a part of the company’s value will be lost.