The statutory health insurance companies are calling for a redistribution of pharmacy fees in order to reduce the number of pharmacies in cities and to ensure supply in rural regions.

“We don’t need eleven pharmacies within walking distance of Munich’s Marienplatz. “But we have to ensure that patients can find a pharmacy nearby in the Uckermark, in East Frisia or in the Hunsrück,” said the board member of the National Association of Health Insurance Funds, Stefanie Stoff-Ahnis, to the editorial network Germany (RND). In order to achieve this, according to the umbrella association’s proposal, pharmacies with high sales should in future receive less money per pack dispensed, while pharmacies in rural regions with correspondingly lower sales should receive a “supply bonus”.

“Pharmacies that provide care in broad rural areas deserve economic preference over pharmacies in busy city centers,” said Stoff-Ahnis. “In order to achieve this, pharmacies that are important for supply but only provide a small number of medicines due to their location should receive a bonus – a supply bonus,” she emphasized.

So far, pharmacies have received a fixed base amount of 8.50 euros for each medication that they provide to people with statutory health insurance. In addition, there is a percentage surcharge of three percent of the drug price. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) also wants to strengthen rural pharmacies through changes to remuneration. However, the health insurance companies consider his reform plans to be inadequate. Specifically, they want to reduce the base amount for pharmacies with high sales and add the money saved to rural pharmacies.