A pharmacy doctor can prescribe medication

Doctor's prescription

1. The most important things in a nutshell

The prescription is a written prescription from the attending physician. This means that the patient receives either a benefit in kind in the form of medication or aids or a service such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy or speech therapy. Prescription drugs may only be issued by the pharmacy if a valid prescription is available.

2. Regulation

In principle, every licensed doctor or dentist may prescribe prescription drugs, but only within their area of ​​activity.
Midwives or alternative practitioners are not allowed to prescribe prescription drugs. However, recommendations for non-prescription drugs are allowed.

3. Information on the cash register prescription

The information on the prescriptions about the assumption of costs by the health insurance company is primarily important for doctors and pharmacists, but there is also information such as the information "noctu" and "aut idem" that is important for the patient.

3.1. General Information

For a prescription to be valid, it must be correctly completed and contain the following information:

3.2. Noctu

If a patient needs a drug outside of the regular opening times of the pharmacy, he usually has to pay an emergency service fee of € 2.50 (cf. § 6 of the Medicines Ordinance). However, if the attending physician ticks “noctu” on the prescription, he is indicating that this prescription is an emergency. In this case, the health insurance company will pay the emergency service fee if the prescription is submitted to the pharmacy immediately.

3.3. Aut idem

In front of each prescribed drug there is a small box "aut idem", which can be translated as "or the same" or "equivalent". If this field is not marked by the doctor, the original drug will not be dispensed, but will be replaced by an equivalent, generic drug from another manufacturer. Which drug it is is determined by the respective valid discount agreements between the pharmaceutical companies and health insurance companies. The original drug is the drug that is available on the market for the first time with a new active ingredient. A generic drug can be produced after the original drug's patent protection expires and must be just as effective as the original.

However, if the doctor ticks the “aut idem box”, you are entitled to the original medication. He must explain this procedure to the health insurance company, i.e. the additional costs must be justified by a medical / therapeutic indication. The aut idem rule has also been in effect for private patients since October 22, 2019.

It is possible to insist on the original drug or a specific generic being dispensed. However, this is associated with additional costs and greater effort for the patient. (Legal basis: § 13 Paragraph 2 SGB V).

4. Discount agreements

If the patient receives a generic instead of the original drug, then the health insurance company has concluded a discount agreement with another drug manufacturer for a drug with the same effect. The primary goals of such an agreement are cost savings and the supply of pharmaceuticals. The health insurance company undertakes to pass on the corresponding medication to the patient. The pharmaceutical company is lowering the price for this. Discount contracts usually have a term of 2 years and can only be concluded for so-called generics. For the health insurance companies, it is possible to negotiate discount agreements with several pharmaceutical companies, so that the patient / pharmacist may have the opportunity to choose between several manufacturers.

5. Types of recipes

5.1. The till prescription

The pink prescription form is used for the prescription of prescription drugs and general aids for patients of the statutory health insurance. It may only be prescribed by physicians who are registered with health insurance. Detailed information under till prescription.

5.2. The private prescription

The private prescription is usually a blue form. It is used for private patients or when the prescription drug is not a health insurance benefit.

5.3. The OTC prescription

OTC is short for "over the counter". Translated, this means "over the counter" and describes drugs and preparations that are only available in a pharmacy but not require a prescription, i.e. can actually be bought in the pharmacy without a prescription. If the doctor recommends such a drug, he uses the green prescription form. More information under OTC prescription.

5.4. The e-prescription

The electronic prescription will be available in the future. This is initially intended to replace the pink cash register prescription, the blue private prescription and the green OTC prescription. The doctor and pharmacist are equipped with special software. Instead of a prescription form, the patient receives a code from the doctor on his smartphone, which the pharmacy reads out and can thus dispense the required medication. More information under e-prescription.

5.5. The narcotic prescription

The drugs that fall under the Narcotics Act are prescribed on a relatively forgery-proof 3-part yellow prescription form. More information under narcotics prescriptions.

5.6. T prescription

There are 3 active pharmaceutical ingredients that have an extremely teratogenic effect, as the Contergan disaster has shown. The active ingredients are thalidomide, lenalidomide and pomalidomide. Medicines with such ingredients may only be issued on an individually numbered, white special prescription issued by the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM). Detailed information under T-prescription.

5.7. Aid ordinance for visual and hearing aids

Hearing and visual aids may be reimbursable and are prescribed on special prescription forms.

5.8. Medicines Ordinance

The doctor prescribes occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech therapy, nutritional therapy and podiatry on the medication ordinance. From January 1, 2021, instead of the previously different forms for the various applications, there will only be one uniform form for all areas.

6. Validity

Recipe typevalidity

Cash register recipe (red / pink recipe)


Discharge prescription

Retinoids in women of childbearing age

general aids


1 month refundable, 3 months non-refundable

3 working days

6 days after the date of issue

28 days

Private prescription (blue prescription)3 months
OTC prescription (green prescription)unlimited
Narcotics prescription (yellow prescription)7 days from the date of issue
T-prescription (white prescription)6 days after the date of issue

Ordinance on medicinal products (except podiatry)


14 days

28 days

Aids Ordinance (hearing aids and visual aids)28 days

7. Co-payment

The costs for medication and bandages are covered by the health insurance company, the pension insurance company and the accident insurance company if the doctor has prescribed them on a prescription. However, co-payments - colloquially prescription fees - are due for many drugs. As a rule, adult patients have to make additional payments of 10% of the selling price, but at least € 5 and a maximum of € 10. More information under Medicines and bandages> Co-payment and exemption.

8. Related links

Till prescription

Private prescription

OTC prescription


Narcotic prescription

T prescription

Medicines and bandages