Can I use my physician identity card to buy prescription medication abroad?

The German physician identity card is generally only valid within the Federal Republic of Germany and is issued by the State Chambers of Physicians as a service to their members.

The purchasing of prescription medication, either for ones own use or to give to family members or acquaintances, constitutes professional medical activity. Professional medical activity may only be carried out in another EU Member State or within the European Economic Area (EEA) after official authorisation by the nationally responsible authority. In many other countries outside this region, such as the United States of America, applicants must often go through complicated assessment procedures before a licence to practise is granted.

In the case of a temporary provision of services within another EU Member State or the European Economic Area (EEA) the Directive 2005/36/EC [PDF] (Article 5 onwards) stipulates that a physician must inform the competent authority in the host Member State in advance of arrival.

For detailed information on prescription laws in other countries please contact the relevant national pharmacy association.