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E-Prescriptions in Germany: Opportunities & Challenges for Online Pharmacy

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Explore the latest updates on the German pharma industry, which is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 6.10% until 2035. Uncover the current usage of e-prescriptions in Germany, as well as the opportunities and challenges they present.

E-prescriptions, the digital evolution of traditional paper prescriptions, are revolutionizing the German healthcare system. The initiative was officially launched by the German Ministry of Health on July 1st, 2021, as part of a pilot project in selected practices. This innovative approach streamlines the prescription process, offering benefits in terms of speed, safety, and simplicity for all stakeholders while addressing issues such as reducing errors, fraud, and medication wastage. As of 2022, doctors have been mandated to create and transmit e-prescriptions, marking the beginning of a nationwide test phase starting on January 01, 2022.

 

Over time, e-prescriptions were gradually being integrated into the daily routines of medical practices, and as of September 01, 2022, pharmacies have been required to accept and process e-prescriptions. The German Ministry of Health has officially launched the e-prescription on July 1, 2023, all over Germany. From now on, patients receive their prescriptions from their doctor via a QR code in the app “Das E-Rezept”.  The mandatory use of e-prescriptions is set to be fully introduced in 2024.

Pharma patients have multiple options for receiving and using e-prescriptions.

  • They can access them via a dedicated smartphone app provided by Gematik, the organization responsible for Germany’s e-health infrastructure.
  • Alternatively, patients can obtain a paper printout with a QR code from their doctor, or they can utilize their electronic health card (eGK) to access their e-prescription.
  • The flexibility extends to the choice of pharmacies for prescription redemption, whether it be online or offline, at their preferred location. It’s important to note that for online medication orders, patients need to register with an online pharmacy beforehand.
E-Prescriptions in Germany: Opportunities & Challenges for Online Pharmacy

Figure 1. E-prescription in Germany

New Opportunities and Challenges Introduced by E-prescriptions in Germany

E-prescriptions in Germany offer a promising avenue for online pharmacies to expand their customer base and bolster their market share. According to a Bitkom survey, 41% of Germans express a desire to utilize online pharmacies more frequently if e-prescriptions were an option.

Nevertheless, online pharmacies in Germany confront a set of challenges associated with the adoption of e-prescriptions.

  • They must invest in the necessary technical infrastructure and robust security measures to manage the increased volume and complexity of data transmission effectively.
  • Compliance with legal regulations and adherence to quality standards for online pharmacy services becomes imperative.
  • Additionally, maintaining customer trust and effective communication while avoiding conflicts with brick-and-mortar pharmacies remain essential considerations in this evolving landscape.

The e-prescription is a major innovation in the German healthcare system that will affect both patients and pharmacies. Online pharmacies will have new opportunities and challenges as they adapt to the changing market conditions. This transition to e-prescriptions marks a significant stride towards a more efficient and paperless healthcare system in Germany, ultimately enhancing the patient experience and healthcare management.

E-Prescriptions in Germany: Opportunities & Challenges for Online Pharmacy

Figure 2. Key features of the E-prescription

E-Prescriptions in Germany: Opportunities & challenges for the Online Pharmacy

We at Chameleon Pharma Consulting Group have a long-standing network and extensive experience based on many projects in Germany and around the world. We operate in various global industry segments, such as Consumer Health Care, Medical Devices, Rx, OTC and Cosmetics. Thanks to our experience with more than 300 successful projects, we are happy to support you with your international strategy and are here to assist you with Regulatory topics, GMP Certificates, and Market Entry. We are looking forward to providing you with our expert advice regarding Germany or other markets you would like to enter. 

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