gms | German Medical Science

15th Annual Meeting of the German Drug Utilisation Research Group (GAA)

Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie

20.11. - 21.11.2008, Bonn

Demands on Rota Duties of Pharmacies in North Rhine-Westphalia

Aufgaben des Bereitschaftsdienstes von Apotheken in der Region Nordrhein-Westfalen

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author Udo Puteanus - Institute of Health and Work North Rhine-Westphalia, Münster, Germany
  • Raimund Stahl - Local Health Authority Hochsauerlandkreis, Meschede, Germany
  • Hans-Ulrich Thielmann - Local Health Authority Kreis Mettmann, Mettmann, Germany
  • Julia Voß - Institute of Health and Work North Rhine-Westphalia, Münster, Germany
  • Torsten Wessel - Local Health Authority Kreis Wesel, Moers, Germany

Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelanwendungsforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie e.V. (GAA). 15. Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelanwendungsforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie. Bonn, 20.-21.11.2008. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2008. Doc08gaa30

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: November 6, 2008

© 2008 Puteanus 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.



Background and aim: Conforming to legal regulations pharmacies are supposed to offer their services outside normal hours. In ten communities in North Rhine-Westphalia, the study at hand investigated the use, the population made of this service, the pharmacies’ capacities to deliver their goods and the types of medicine required by the customers.

Material and method: Pharmacists were asked to document each customer’s request on a Tuesday and Sunday during their rota duty from January 1st 2008 to June 30th 2008. Data about the pharmacy, the customers and the required medicines were to be recorded. Medicines for children under 13 years were recorded separately.

Results: 512 pharmacies with 15,060 customers could be evaluated, including medicine wishes for 4792 children under 13 years. More than 95% of customers used the service before 1:00 clock at night. More than 96% of pharmacists have indicated that the customer needs (prescription and self-medication) could be met in more than 80%. Nearly 3% of the customers had to go to a second pharmacy on duty. The pharmacists estimated that about 75% of the requests occurring after business hours were justified. Mostly, people needed antibiotics on prescription, followed by analgesics. Within the framework of self-medication cold remedies besides analgesics were in the spotlight.

Conclusion: The service of pharmacies is not in question by pharmacists and consumers. Pharmacists are able to meet customer requirements in most cases. The study emphasizes the importance of the rota duty system as the pharmacies play a vital part in supplying the public with drugs and remedies. Consumers use this service frequently and pharmacists attach importance to the service. In a next step it will be investigated whether the service is consumer-friendly enough focussing on the accessibility.