German pharmacies have scored poorly after a spot test was carried out by the independent product and service testing agency Stiftung Warentest. It found pharmacy services unsatisfactory overall. The investigation, conducted in 50 pharmacies in Berlin, Cologne and Munich, found there were “severe weaknesses” in the advice given by pharmacists. In many cases products were recommended which were inappropriate, had strong side effects or even could cause addiction. Even when it came to simple ailments such as the common cold, 21 of the pharmacists gave inadequate or incorrect advice on proper treatment. Investigators found shortcomings in almost 90 percent of the cases; only one pharmacy had positive results across the board. The head of Stiftung Warentest said the spot check resulted in a "miserable" grade for pharmacy personnel. The head of the German Pharmacy Association said the results would be taken seriously, but said he doubted that they were representative of pharmacies as a whole.