Germans queue for medicine in Czech towns

28th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

28 February 2005, PRAGUE - Sidewalk queues of consumers were a common sight outside chronically understocked shops in the former communist Czechoslovakia. Today communism is gone and shop shelves are full. But queues are forming again - this time with German consumers who cross the Czech border in search of bargain-price medicine. Czech prices for painkillers and other over-the-counter drugs are attracting more Germans, especially the elderly, to pharmacies in border towns. According to a recent report in

28 February 2005

PRAGUE - Sidewalk queues of consumers were a common sight outside chronically understocked shops in the former communist Czechoslovakia.

Today communism is gone and shop shelves are full. But queues are forming again - this time with German consumers who cross the Czech border in search of bargain-price medicine.

Czech prices for painkillers and other over-the-counter drugs are attracting more Germans, especially the elderly, to pharmacies in border towns.

According to a recent report in Prague's Mlada fronta Dnes newspaper, Czech pharmacies charge up to 10 times less than their German counterparts for certain medicines.

And cross-border shopping has become less intimidating and more commonplace since the Czech Republic joined the European Union last year.

"When we're in Czech, we always stop in at the pharmacy and buy what we usually need at home," a young mother from Dresden, Katrin Ries, told the paper.

So popular is the practice that, in some Czech towns, customer lines form outside pharmacies during the lunch break. After reopening, those pharmacists may spend the rest of the day catering to Germans.

Differences in government regulations, pharmacist wages, drug company policies and other factors account for the price differences.

And while some products such the pain medicine ibuprofen may be cheaper in the Czech Republic, other drugs such as Viagra are less expensive in Germany.

The price gap has been a boost for pharmacies in sleepy Czech towns. But it's also benefiting some German entrepreneurs who have found ways to buy medicine at Czech prices and sell for more in Germany.

A Leipzig company, for example, sells mail-order drugs over the internet from its branch store in Decin, Czech Republic. The company owner says shoppers can save 30 percent on some products.

DPA

Subject: German news

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