Procedure descriptions


Registering to sell non-prescription pharmaceutical products

Non-prescription (over-the-counter) pharmaceutical products can be obtained without a prescription. You are permitted to sell them outside pharmacies.

Non-prescription pharmaceutical products include:

medicinal plants and plant parts

  • mixtures from whole or cut plants or plant parts (e.g. sage leaves, chamomile blossom, fennel or aniseed fruits, coltsfoot leaves, linden or elderflower blossom, juice from fresh plants, distillate from plants, elixir of valerian and valerian pearls, lecithin and ginseng products, herb tonics)
  • certain throat lozenges
  • Japanese oils made from medicinal plants
  • certain healing waters and their salts
  • pine needle extracts
  • corn plasters
  • liquid first-aid dressings
  • sexual tonics


Responsible authority

  • the administrative headquarters (Regierungspräsidium) responsible for your district
  • for examining your proficiency: the Chambers of Industry and Commerce (IHK)


As the business owner, you must demonstrate knowledge and proficiency in the following areas:

  • filling
  • packing
  • labelling and storage
  • distributing medicinal products

If you personally do not have the skills required, one of the following persons must possess them:

  • a person legally appointed to represent the company
  • a person employed by you to manage the company, or
  • a person employed by you as sales staff

Note: If you have several branches, there must be an employee available in each branch who can provide corresponding advice.


You must register with your competent administrative headquarters if you wish to sell non-prescription pharmaceutical products.

You must also register your business with the municipal council (Gemeindeverwaltung) or city council (Stadtverwaltung) responsible for the location of your future business headquarters - either in person or in writing. Depending on the authority, you can either obtain the application form there or download it from the internet.

Required documents

Evidence of proficiency, e.g.

  • a pharmacy degree
  • an examination qualifying you as a commercial druggist assistant
  • a final examination qualifying you as chemist assistant or commercial pharmaceutical employee
  • a course of training as technical pharmaceutical assistant
  • Evidence that you engaged in one of the following activities before 1978 after sitting the examination qualifying you as a commercial druggist assistant:
    • at least three years of practical experience in a commercial enterprise selling non-prescription pharmaceutical products, or
    • five years of administrative activity, two thereof in a managerial position, in a commercial enterprise selling non-prescription pharmaceutical products

Note: If you cannot provide this evidence, you will have to take a proficiency examination in front of the examination board of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. For this, you will have to register at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the area where your place of employment, training facility or residence is located.


You must register your intention to sell non-prescription pharmaceutical products before you actually start doing business.


Every mail order company that distributes pharmaceutical products in the European Union is obliged to use the common European mail order logo on its website. This shows consumers that the mail order company is entitled to distribute pharmaceutical products for human use via the internet as per the laws in the relevant country. They can also see the country in which the mail order company is located at a glance.

The logo must be clearly visible on the website. Clicking on it will forward visitors to the Register of Mail Order Companies.


Costs of notification: none

You may incur further costs, e.g. for

  • registering your business
  • any proficiency examination you may have to take at the IHK


Release note

The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Sozialministerium released it on 29.06.2015. Only the German text is legally binding. The Federal State does not assume any liability for the translated texts.
In cases of doubt or if you have any questions or problems, please contact the relevant authorities directly.