gms | German Medical Science

11. Jahrestagung 2004 der GAA

Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie

30.09. bis 01.10.2004, Jena

Influence of the GMG on the development of non ethical drugs analysed on the basis of different data sources

Meeting Abstract

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Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelanwendungsforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie (GAA) e.V.. 11. Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie (GAA) e.V.. Jena, 30.09.-01.10.2004. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2004. Doc04gaa09

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Published: September 30, 2004

© 2004 Schröder-Bernhardi et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Aim of the Study

Since the new German law GMG (Gesundheitsmodernisierungsgesetz) was coming into effect legal health insurance founds (GKV) no longer compensate the costs for non ethical drugs with only few exceptions [1]. Moreover the hurdle for visits at doctor's practices was set significantly higher by the introduction of practice fees especially in the case of mild diseases [2]. In this study we analysed the resulting influence of the GMG on the development of prescriptions and sales of different over the counter drugs (OTC).


The analyses were carried out using different data sources of IMS Health. One of these is the patient database Disease Analyzer - mediplus Germany [3]. This database provides anonymous access to a representative panel of physicians and patients. The other ones are the German Pharmaceutical Market (DPM) and the Global OTC Report where units and sales are reported.


Totally during the first half of 2004 the units of GKV prescriptions decrease round 5.9 %. In detail the rate for non ethical drugs is 7.6 % whereas the rate for ethical drugs is 3.7 %. The market importance of imports significantly decreases round 25 %. Regarding decrease of prescriptions of non ethical drugs within groups of specialists the oculists show the highest rate with 80 %, paediatricians the lowest rate with 15 %.

Looking at sales the decrease for ethical drugs is 5.4 %, for non ethical drugs 46.9 %, taking into consideration all discounts. This indicate that sales of most OTC drugs are not compensated by cash purchase. Therefore conspicuous recession of drug costs reimbursed by the GKV primarily refer to OTC drugs. Only a small part of so far GKV prescriptions is now handled by private prescriptions or by the 'Grünem Rezept' (self medication recommended by physicians).


The results show that the National Department of Health has reached the desired effects of a reduction of drug expenses in the area of non ethical products to the full extent. As a consequence for OTC drugs a displacement of costs hardly comes of in direction patient's cash purchase.

Conflict of interest: none


Dietrich ES, Erläuterungen zur OTC-Ausnahmeliste, Deutsches Ärzteblatt 101(14):A961, 2004
Ärztezeitung, WirtschaftsTip 5:8-9, 2004
Dietlein G, Schröder-Bernhardi D, Use of the mediplus patient database in healthcare research, Int J Clin Pharmacology and Therapeutics 40(3):130-133, 2002