An Apotheke is a pharmacy. If you've been in Germany for a while you're guaranteed to have seen an Apotheke, even if you weren't specifically looking for one. Those large signs that proudly hold a bright red letter A are something you can't miss. This sign isn't representative of a chain, but rather just as a means of easy identification.They are located in city centers as well as in a lot of other locations and more than likely there's one within minutes from your home.
Whereas in the United States one may become used to CVS, Walgreens and others that are combined with a grocery store like Walmart, and Publix, pharmacies in Germany are quite different. By law, pharmacies in Germany must be run by a pharmacist who is only able to own a maximum of three locations. Another difference between Germany and the United States when it comes to pharmacies is the way that over the counter medication is packaged. Pain killers and head ache medication in Germany generally come in smaller portions and thus the price is higher. The opposite is true for the pricing of prescription medication which is rather cheap as some of the costs are covered by ones health insurance.
When in Germany, know that there is a difference between a pharmacy and a drug store. Drug stores in Germany do not carry prescription medication or over the counter medication. Instead they mainly sell household products, beauty products, snacks and juices. For all prescription and over the counter medication you will need to go to a pharmacy. Here, all medication will be displayed behind the counter even something as simple as sore throat medication.
When are they open?
Pharmacies in Germany are open every day of the week outside of Sundays and public holidays. However, at least one pharmacy in your city will be open and thus there is no need to worry that you won't be able to get your medication after opening hours. This holds true for public holidays. You can find out which pharmacies are open from the information provided in the newspaper and there is usually a paper on the doors of closed pharmacies that will inform you on which location is open.
Prescriptions may also be filled online as online pharmacies are soaring in popularity in Germany. Your medication will then be delivered to your home. This may not be a viable option for those who are looking to receive their products within the same day. Your local pharmacy may also deliver medication, so on your next visit to the city, check with them to see if this is a possibility for you. This will save you from having to rush out once your prescriptions need to be refilled.
Some of the pharmacies in Germany are hundreds of years old and boast exceptional architecture that are worth a sight seeing trip. If you happen to go at a time where there isn't anyone in the pharmacy, the pharmacists may be willing to give you a bit of background on the location.