To the 31. July closes the cranach pharmacy in strauer strabe. Owner franz J. Mahnert regrets the step, but calls it inevitable. The changing times and digitalization also present new challenges for pharmacists.
On the one hand, there is the mail order business, but on the other hand, the environment in the pharmacy located at the fub of the upper city has changed, says franz J. Mahnert. During the conversation he emphasized that he could only talk about the profession from his point of view.
Ten years ago, the situation of the cranach pharmacy, which was opened in 1960, was still excellent, he says. There were many doctors’ offices in the area. There were two internists, an ear, nose and throat doctor, a general practitioner located in the vicinity of the cranach pharmacy. He also profited from the medical practices in the upper town.
With each abandoned or relocated practice, however, he has lost customers and thus also turnover. In addition, the increasing bureaucratic requirements and the procedures that the health insurance companies are now demanding are causing an overhead that a small pharmacy cannot afford in the long term. In addition, there is the internet.
In mahnert’s view, politics has contributed to a distortion of competition in the past years. For example, the full value-added tax rate of 19 percent had to be applied to medicines in germany, and the internet pharmacies based abroad paid less. Foreign mail-order pharmacies were also allowed to offer discounts and vouchers for prescription drugs, while this was denied to retail pharmacies in germany. In addition, uniform prices applied throughout germany. Add to that the data protection regulation. "This is well-intentioned, but it hits the wrong people!"
Mahnert describes the situation of his pharmacy as "probably not high enough" for a successor in the future. It has always lived on the surrounding medical practices and the high level of competence. "We consulted long, intensively and extensively", he says. This was also an advantage over the mail order business.
The job has always been a pleasure
Franz J. Mahnert decided to study pharmacy in his younger years more by chance than anything else. A friend said that this was an easy degree and afterwards a lot of money was earned. "None of them applied.", he says with a smile. But he had always enjoyed his studies and his profession.
Franz J. Mahnert is convinced that pharmacies will become fewer, but will never completely give way to the internet drug trade. As a present pharmacy, one builds up a relationship of trust with one’s customers over the years. We know what medications they take, what diseases they have to deal with. It is often common for health impairments to increase with age, and medication consumption to increase. As a local pharmacist, you know if the dosage and the different medications are in harmony with each other.
It also sometimes happened that he consulted the doctor treating him in order to avoid even more damage to his health. "An internet pharmacy or a mail-order pharmacy will never be able to do that!"
The board member of the bavarian pharmacy association and owner of the teuschnitzer pharmacy, clemens richter, regrets that the cranach pharmacy will no longer be continued. However, he also believes that this closure will not create a supply gap in the county seat. "Instead of six, there are now only five pharmacies!". It would be worse if in the surrounding communities like in pressig, ludwigsstadt, teuschnitz etc. A pharmacy in schlieben was. "A piece of the quality of life has been lost!"
Schemes outweigh the benefits
Richter speaks of the fact that at present more pharmacies are closing than are being opened. Fewer and fewer trained pharmacists want to go to the countryside. And that was mainly due to the lack of planning certainty and the skeptical future expectations of the profession. Here, richter hopes that politicians will change the conditions for his profession.
He considers the ruling of the european court of justice in 2016 to be unjust. This has caused a competitive imbalance in favor of foreign pharmaceutical distributors. Unlike retail pharmacists, they no longer have to follow the uniform dispensing price for prescription drugs and are allowed to offer discounts or vouchers. Now he is hoping that health minister spahn will remedy the situation. A draft law is to be discussed in the bundestag next week.
And how is it going for franz J. Mahnert continues? He is relieved that his two employees quickly found jobs again.
He now wants to devote himself to the areas that have often had to take a back seat in recent years: his family, his dog, his garden – and, of course, he wants to explore his native france more than ever before.