Prescription Drugs Drive Pharmacy Sales Up 2.5% During 2011 in Germany to USD54 Bil.
German pharmacy sales rose 2.5% year-on-year in 2011 to USD54 billion, with prescription drugs leading the way in terms of growth.
IHS Global Insight Perspective
German pharmacies saw an increase of 2.5% year-on-year in their total sales in 2011, to USD54 billion, with growth being driven by increased sales in prescription drugs.
The increase in sales should be seen in the context of a freeze on drug prices and increased downward pressure on prices due to generic rebate contracts.
The figures point to a strong underlying raw demand for outpatient prescription drugs in the German market, which will probably continue to grow.
The value of sales in German pharmacies grew by 2.5 % year-on-year (y/y) in 2011, reaching a total of EUR40.9 billion (USD54.1 billion), according to data from the Federal Union of German Associations of Pharmacists (ABDA). In volume terms, pharmacy sales went up by a reported 0.7% y/y—following several years of decline—to 1.4 billion packs. The full report on the ABDA website can be accessed, in German, here.
The total value of the sales of medicines in pharmacies—including prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines—amounted to EUR37.0 million, up by 2.5% y/y, and representing 90.5% of the value of all goods sold in pharmacies.
Prescription Medicine Sales Grow Fastest
Sales of prescription medicines went up by 2.8% y/y to EUR32.5 billion, representing 79.5% of the total sales of pharmacies; in 2010, prescription-drug sales represented 79.2% of sales. In volume terms, there was an increase in the sales of prescription drugs of 2.3% y/y to 761 million packages, representing 54.5% of the total sales of pharmacies by volume, an increase of 0.8 percentage point.
Non-Prescription Drug Sales Flat
Meanwhile, sales of non-prescription medicines which are not available outside of pharmacies remained flat compared with the previous year, amounting to EUR4.3 billion, which constituted 10.5% of all pharmacy sales by value. Of this number, EUR1.0 billion was accounted for by prescribed medicines, flat on the previous year's figure, as was the EUR3.3 billion accounted for by non-prescribed medicines. Sales in pharmacies of OTC medicines freely available outside of pharmacies was also flat, at an estimated EUR200 million.
German Pharmacy Market, 2011, Value Sales, Selected Data
2011 Sales (EUR Bil.)
% Change, Y/Y
Total Pharmacy Sales
Total Medicine Sales
Sales of Prescription Medicine
Sales of Non-Prescription Medicine
Average Prices in Pharmacies Edge Up
The average price of a prescription medicine in a German pharmacy in 2011 is reported to have been EUR42.71, which is 0.6% higher than in 2010. In the case of OTC medicines, there was also a small increase in prices compared with 2010—the average price of OTC drugs sold on the basis of prescriptions from sickness funds increased by 1.6% y/y to EUR10.23; the average price of OTC drugs sold on the basis of private prescriptions increased by 0.9% y/y to EUR11.48; and the average price of non-prescribed OTC drugs went up by 0.9% y/y to EUR7.88.
Number of Pharmacies Declines
ABDA reports that there were 21,238 pharmacies open in Germany in 2011, representing a decline of 203 compared with the previous year. Most importantly, there were 313 closures of "main" pharmacies and only 96 new openings during the year.
Outlook and Implications
With an increase of pharmacy sales by volume after several years of declines—and prescription pharmaceuticals playing an important part in this—it can be seen that in spite of the price freeze on drug prices and the ongoing downward pressure on prices due to generic rebate contracts, raw demand for outpatient prescription medicines is still on the up in Germany.
The stagnation in the sale of OTC medicines—continuing the trend from 2009–10—shows that there is still a tendency towards caution in discretionary spending. However, the figures for 2011 show the underlying strength of the German market, in the face of continued downward price pressure and austerity.
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