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Number of pharmacies in Europe 2015, by country

Among European countries, it is Turkey that takes the lead in 2015 regarding the total number of pharmacies: 24.827 pharmacies operated in Turkey that year. Not far from the top of the list, we also find France with approximately 22.455 pharmacies. France and Turkey register a higher number of pharmacies per capita than other populous European countries, such as the United Kingdom, Italy or Germany.

Online drugstores present a challenge to the legislation on medicine sale

The Dutch online drugstore chain Doc Morris operates since 2006 in Germany, where the legislation protected the trade of small independent pharmacists in a similar fashion as in France and in Turkey. But, in January 2007, the High Administrative Court of the Saarland in Germany, allowed this company under specific circumstances to operate as a chain. It is important to note that this decision opened the doors to a market with a particularly high-turnover in Germany. In 2017, the annual turnover of the pharmacy market in Germany amounted to almost 32.4 billion euros.

E-commerce – a possible future?

The Amendment of the German Medicinal Products Act in 2004 (Arzneimittelgesetz) also provided a legal basis for companies like Doc Morris to sell and distribute medicaments and other pharmaceutical products online. This case could provide a precedent for big retail pharmacists to operate in countries where the legislation prohibits the existence of pharmacy chains thus eliminating the necessity of establishing a chain of physical shops like in the United Kingdom and Spain. If this proves to be the case, online drugstores could be granted access to a profitable market. In France alone, the turnover of medicines sold in retail pharmacies corresponded to about 20.2 billion euros in 2016. Depending on the outcome, this could also represent a strong competition for independent drugstores that could ultimately lead to a drastic reduction of the number of pharmacies in European countries. However, the end consumers in France seem to be rather conservative: 62 percent of the French were opposed to the online sales of medicaments. As stated by a poll conducted by Harris Interactive in 2019, more than 80 percent of the respondents had never purchased medication on the Internet.

Number of pharmacies in Europe in 2015, by country

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Release date

March 2016



Survey time period


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