Walter Pechmann, a key account manager at the marketing research company GfK said, “The recommendation from a pharmacy to buy a specific medicine is a decisive factor in patient decisions to buy a certain product.” He cited statistics indicating 20 percent of OTC sales can be traced back to a pharmacist’s recommendation. By contrast, a doctor’s recommendation played a role in only 14 percent of OTC purchases.
Pechmann added that consumers tend to use online pharmacies to buy more expensive OTC drugs that are part of a planned therapy regime, yet when it comes to cold medications, painkillers and other products that patients use to treat acute conditions, the “brick and mortar” pharmacy shops have the upper hand.
Melanie Wiegand, expert at Germany Trade & Invest, explained: “The classic pharmacies enjoy a very strong market position and German consumers love their pharmacies. Non-prescription healthcare products in particular are being purchased more and more frequently on-line.” Wiegand added, “I expect this trend to continue, because people in Germany are very health-conscious and more and more people are positive about buying things online.”
With appropriate market knowledge, Germany offers huge opportunities for pharmaceuticals sales, whether they are OTC or prescription products. After all, OECD statistics for outlays on medicinal drugs show that Germany leads Europe, with an annual spending of 55 percent higher than the European average.