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Germany

Germany in Brief

Police discover the bodies of three murdered women at a health club in North Rhine-Westphalia; prescription drug prices in Germany soar; doctors strike in Berlin and more.

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Pills are getting pricier in Germany

Three Women Found Killed

Three cleaning women were found shot to death early Wednesday in the parking lot of the fitness studio where they worked, police said. Investigators had no explanation for the killings, which occurred in the northwestern German town of Telgte. The victims ranged in age from 30 to 39.

Insurers' Costs For Drugs Climbs

The cost of prescription drugs, a major reason for the financial woes of Germany's public health insurance companies, climbed more than 5 percent last year, according to a newspaper report. The insurers paid a total of €22.05 billion ($24 billion) last year, the Frankfurter Rundschau reported on Wednesday. That was 5.4 percent more than 2001, the newspaper said. The increased costs are likely to mean that the insurers' deficit may climb above the predicted loss of €2.5 billion for the year.

Give Me A Beer-Cola, Please

The land of beer is becoming the land of beer mixes. During 2002, Germans gulped down 29.1 percent more of the drinks, a combination of beer and such things as cola or fruit juice, than they did in 2001. At the same time, their consumption of straight beer slipped 0.1 percent, the German Statistical Office in Wiesbaden reported on Wednesday.

Doctors Go on Strike in Berlin, Frankfurt

Doctors in Berlin began a rolling series of strikes on Wednesday to protest the federal government's plans to reorganize the German health care system. The doctors' strike comes one week after other physicians around the country held a one-day protest. In Berlin, the physicians closed around 1,000 of the city's 6,000 doctors' offices daily for the next five weeks. In the central state of Hesse, doctors are also being urged to join the protest and take part in a demonstration set for Wednesday in Frankfurt.