Doctor prescription: colors and validity

A lot of medication is available in pharmacies, drug stores, or online stores without a prescription. However, some are by prescription-only and are only sold or handed out when showing a prescription. But why do these prescriptions have different colors? And for how long are they valid? tünews INTERATIONAL followed up on these questions.

Pink prescription: This means that the health insurance pays for the medication. Normally, the patient pays between 5 to 10 Euros per product. The pink prescription is valid for one month. After that, the patient has to fully pay for the prescribed medication themselves. This prescription can also be used for dressings, test strips for blood sugar or medical instruments.

Blue prescription: This is usually given to patients with a private health insurance. It is consequently called a private prescription. Private patients have to fully pay for the medication at the pharmacy and usually get the money back for their health insurer after they hand in the prescription. Publicly insured also receive a blue prescription, if the prescribed medication is not listed in the catalog of benefits from their public health insurance. In that case, they have to pay for it themselves. Examples: birth control pill, certain dressing or other aids. The blue prescription is valid for three months. A refund by the health insurance is sometimes only possible within one month of issuance or redeeming the prescription. The doctor also uses a blue prescription if he prescribes medication or dressing that the patient asks for, but which the doctor thinks isn’t therapeutically necessary.

Green prescription: This is only a product recommendation by the doctor for which a prescription is not necessary. It is not paid for by the health insurance. The patient has to pay for it completely.

Yellow prescription: Particularly strict regulations apply to medication that fall under the Medicinal Products Act (for example, strong pain killers such as morphine). Because of this, these prescriptions are given out with three copies. The health insurance gets the original, while the doctor and the pharmacist each keep one copy. keep one copy. Yellow prescriptions are only valid for seven days after their issuance and expire after that.

White prescription: This prescription is only meant for pharmaceuticals that have certain ingredients (lenalidomide, pomalidomide and thalidomide), which for pregnant women can lead to disfigurations of the child. Thalidomide was responsible for the catastrophe in the 1950s, in which about 12.000 children from 46 countries all over the world were born with malformations. This active ingredient was approved as treatment against multiple myeloma (a malign disease of the bone marrow) in 2007. This prescription is numbered and is only handed out to certain doctors. It consists of the original and one copy, which the pharmacy has to send to the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices. This prescription is valid for a maximum of six days.


Bei Arztrezepten haben unterschiedliche Farben unterschiedliche Bedeutungen. Foto: WikimediaCommons.

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