Density of Pharmacies in the EU
With about 21,000 pharmacies and a population of more than 80 million, Germany has a pharmacy density of 3,900 inhabitants per pharmacy. In fact, the total number of pharmacies in Germany has only slightly moved down over the last years. In comparison to the other member states of the European Union, Germany is placed approximately in the centre: Some countries have a higher density, other countries have a lower one. At one end of the spectrum, there is Denmark with 17,700 inhabitants per pharmacy. At the other end, there is Greece with 1,000 citizens per pharmacy. There may be geographical, historic, economic or regulatory reasons for such a wide variety within the EU.
Sometimes the question arises whether there are too many pharmacies in Germany. First of all, in 1958, Germany's constitutional court ruled that a pharmacist is free to establish a pharmacy anywhere in Germany as long as he or she complies with the legal preconditions. That means that market mechanisms are working in a highly regulated system. Also, Germany is proud to offer a reliable and safe system of drug distribution to all its citizens - at all times of the day and in each corner of the country. Therefore, no patient in need of an emergency service would argue that there are too many pharmacies. Moreover, it is difficult to compare different health systems with each other as each society defines its own standard for the national health system, of which pharmacies are an integral and indispensible part.