2020

03.05.2020 – Zur Rose Group AG

Zur Rose Group: Charges in connection with mail-order of non-prescription drugs and electronic prescribing

Zur Rose Group AG / Key word(s): Legal Matter
Zur Rose Group: Charges in connection with mail-order of non-prescription
drugs and electronic prescribing

03.05.2020 / 07:00

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Press release

Board of Directors of the Zur Rose Group stands resolutely behind CEO Walter
Oberhänsli

Public prosecutor of the Canton of Thurgau files charges against Walter
Oberhänsli in connection with mail-order of non-prescription drugs and
electronic prescribing

The Kreuzlingen public prosecutor filed charges against Walter Oberhänsli in
his capacity as CEO of the Zur Rose Group. The charges are based on a report
of a criminal offence lodged by Pharmasuisse and relate to two separate
issues: mail-order distribution of non-prescription drugs and rewarding
doctors for issuing electronic prescriptions between 2010 and 2015. The
Board of Directors vigorously rejects the accusations made against its CEO
and has announced it will support Walter Oberhänsli unreservedly in fighting
the charges made against him and protecting his integrity.

Mail-order distribution of non-prescription drugs
In 2011 Zur Rose launched a safe, efficient and cost-effective mail-order
distribution service for non-prescription (OTC) drugs. An independent
company specialised in telemedical patient consultations was responsible for
issuing doctors' prescriptions. On 29 September 2015 the Federal Court ruled
that the mail-order retailing of non-prescription drugs as practised by Zur
Rose and approved by the Cantonal Pharmacist was prohibited by law. Zur Rose
stopped the mail-order distribution of OTC drugs that same day. The
practical impact of the ruling by the Federal Supreme Court is that a
doctor's prescription issued on the basis of contact in person with a doctor
is always required for the mail-order distribution of all pharmaceuticals.
This applies even to medicines that can be sold without a prescription by
any bricks and mortar pharmacy or chemist's, such as Bepanthen ointment,
Kamillosan mouth spray and Voltaren gel.

Cooperation with doctors to promote electronic prescribing
Zur Rose is a pioneer in introducing electronic prescriptions. It did so
around 20 years ago, well before the launch of electronic patient records
had become standard. Unlike paper prescriptions, electronic prescribing
leaves no scope for interpretation, cannot be forged and increases patient
safety. Many patients, especially the chronically ill, those with mobility
challenges and the elderly, also want the cost-effective Zur Rose mail-order
pharmaceuticals service, which delivers the medicines ordered to their home.
Doctors who prescribe electronically make an important contribution to
cheaper, safer and more efficient mail-order distribution. Zur Rose rewarded
these doctors appropriately for their efforts. The rest of the savings under
this distribution model (over 80 per cent) benefited health insurers, and
hence those who pay premiums, in the form of reductions. Unlike bricks and
mortar pharmacies, Zur Rose does not charge for customer record and
medication checks and also grants discounts. The cumulative savings achieved
for the healthcare system as a whole over the last decade amounted to
roughly CHF 100 million. Nevertheless, on 7 July 2014 the Federal Supreme
Court banned Zur Rose from rewarding doctors for entering prescription data
electronically. Zur Rose stopped these rewards that same day.

As the contested business activity was already discontinued five years ago,
the Zur Rose Group rules out an impact of the proceedings on the current
business performance.

Board of Directors stands unreservedly behind its CEO
"Zur Rose has always seen itself as fighting for a way of supplying
medicines that is modern, safe and keeps down costs, and it continues to do
so," says Professor Stefan Feuerstein, Chairman of the Board of Directors.
"This legal attack on our CEO by groups seeking to hold back technological
change with all its undisputed benefits simply in order to defend their own
individual business interests - and this five years after the activity in
question ceased - is something I find grotesque. All the more so as the
cantonal authorities and courts had previously repeatedly classified what
our CEO did as permissible. Walter Oberhänsli is an outstanding entrepreneur
of the highest integrity; we will protect his good reputation in every
respect."

Investors and analyst contact
Marcel Ziwica, Chief Financial Officer
Email: ir@zurrose.com, phone: +41 58 810 11 49

Media contact
Lisa Lüthi, Head of Group Communications
Email: media@zurrose.com, phone: +41 52 724 08 14

Zur Rose Group

The Swiss Zur Rose Group is Europe's largest e-commerce pharmacy and one of
the leading medical wholesalers in Switzerland. It also operates the leading
marketplace in southern Europe for consumer health, beauty and personal care
products commonly sold in pharmacies. The company is internationally present
with strong brands, including Germany's best-known pharmacy brand DocMorris.
Zur Rose employs more than 1,800 people at sites in Switzerland, Germany,
the Netherlands, Spain and France. In 2019 it generated revenue of CHF 1,569
million (including medpex) and has around seven million active customers in
core European markets.

With its business model, the Zur Rose Group offers high-quality, safe and
cost-effective pharmaceutical care. It is also characterized by the
continuous further development of digital services in the field of drug
management using AI-supported applications and new technology. Zur Rose is
furthermore actively driving ahead its positioning as a comprehensive
provider of healthcare services. By creating a digital healthcare platform -
the Zur Rose ecosystem - it networks products and digital services from
qualified providers. The contribution made by Zur Rose will be to take these
offerings to customers and patients and to make a relevant selection. The
aim is to provide people with a seamless accompaniment and empower them to
manage their own health optimally using products and digital solutions.

The shares of Zur Rose Group AG are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange
(securities number 4261528, ISIN CH0042615283, ticker ROSE). For further
information please see zurrosegroup.com.


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