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The History of Richter Pharma

Richter Pharma has undergone a prominent historic development which is typical for many Austrian pharmaceutical companies. Founded as small pharmacy in the middle of the town square of Wels, which was established around 1600 and has now been owned by the family Richter/Fritsch for more than one hundred years, Richter Pharma today is a globally acting successful healthcare services provider.






Richter Pharma’s success story started more than 400 years ago, as the pharmacy was mentioned for the first time in the books of the city of Wels. Still today, the "Adler Apotheke", which was first documented in 1576, is still situated in the same location on the historic town square of Wels.


Wolffgang Wörlinger owns the pharmacy on the town square of Wels. The citizens of Wels are massively affected by the aftermath of the Thirty Years‘ War. Wörlinger is revolting as upset tax payer against the city of Wels by stating “You take away the pharmacists their liberty and steal their rights.”


Pharmacist Johann Karl Kohl takes over the pharmacy and opens the long list of owners, which run the pharmacy comme il faut and additionally engage in the social life of Wels, by becoming municipal judge and mayor of Wels.


The pharmacy gets awarded the “dispensatorium pharmaceuticum Austriaco-Viennense” by empress Maria Theresia, which is reserved to the Austrian crown lands and includes 1.618 different pharmaceutical formulas.


Pharmacist Carl Richter sen. (1835-1891) discovers the “Guntherquelle”, a well, in Bad Hall und becomes the owner of the “Apotheke zum Schwarzen Adler”, the pharmacy, which has been in the ownership of the familiy Richter/Fritsch since then. Richter continuously implements improvements in the pharmacy and – as first building in Wels – installs electric lightening.

Around 1900

Pharmacist Carl Richter jun. (1866-1927) takes over the pharmacy from his father and lays the foundation for many different pharmacy services, which are still offered today. He starts the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals for humans and animals and renovates the building on the town square n° 14, including the construction of the "Löwenkeller", literally the “lion cellar”, which still today is a very famous and much liked restaurant.


On 1st August 1914 at 8:30 am in the morning C. Richter’s pharmacy applies for the registration of the name mark description “Citoburol” at the Regulatory Affairs Office of the Archduchy Austria “Österreich ob der Enns”. The registered trademark is assigned for the duration of ten years.


Carl Richter jun. establishes a wholesaling business in the legal form of a private limited partnership amongst family members. This is the first step towards the development to the successful pharmaceutical full-line wholesaler Richter Pharma is today. Carl Richter jun. opens subsidiaries in Steyr, Linz and Budapest, is mayor of Wels and founder of the local commercial school.


Councilman and pharmacist Hubert Richter (1895-1949) continues the expansions of his father Carl Richter jun. and considerably expands the pharmaceutical wholesaling business. He invests in first automobiles, enlarges the manufacturing of veterinary pharmaceuticals and is the foundation father of the druggists’ school in Wels.


Hubert Richter founds the “Association of Self-dispensing Doctors”. His sister Margarethe marries Egon Fritsch (the uncle of Alfred Fritsch); this is how the name “Fritsch” finally reaches the family.


The company is taken over by pharmacist Alfred Fritsch (1910-2003), who continues the expansion of the pharmaceutical wholesaling and the veterinary production. He opens subsidiaries in Vienna and Graz.


With registration number 63 and as of 2nd June 1951 Richter Pharma holds the registration approval of “Citoburol Tablets” (antiseptic, astringent), as well as with registration number 164 the registration approval of “Pectosorin Liqueur” (cough syrup, expectorant).


Alfred Fritsch initiates the construction of the new wholesale distribution center in the “Feldgasse N° 19”. This is when for the first time parts of Richter Pharma leave the historic buildings on the town square in order to fulfill the new requirements of modern logistics and technology. Still today, Richter Pharma holds its registered offices in Feldgasse 19.


Following the beginning of his professional career pharmacist Florian Fritsch (born in 1955), who today is the majority owner and CEO, takes over the leadership of Richter Pharma. He commissions structural alteration works and implements new storage techniques as well as automatic picking machines, closes the subsidiary in Graz and starts first pre-wholesaling activities.


Florian Fritsch initiates the construction of the manufacturing facility in the “Durisolstreet N° 14” and lays the foundation of the modernization and professionalization of today’s veterinary production as fundamental pillar of the company.


From the years 1995 to 1998 the pharmacy “Adler Apotheke” on the town square as well as the associated medical center get completely refurbished and the so called "Stadtplatzgalerie" is founded, which all together represent a centre of health, pleasure and culture in the middle of Wels. Besides the pharmacy, also the medical centre, the AAGalery as well as restaurants are to be found in the “Stadtplatzgalerie” and provide many amenities.


Richter Pharma has always much promoted the issue of “quality”. In 1996, Richter Pharma is the first Austrian full-line wholesaler which gets EN ISO 9001 certified. “Continuous improvement” is our target and motor at Richter Pharma, linked with the invitation to all staff members to work together towards continuous improvement.


In order to actively proceed the development from a pure pharmaceutical full-line wholesaler to an all-embracing health care services provider, Richter Pharma changes ist corporate form to a limited company. The newly founded “Richter Pharma Ltd.” is not listed on the stock exchange, 100% of stock are family owned.


Richter Pharma gets awarded the “Pegasus in Bronze”, a prize of the Federal State of Upper Austria, having gained the third rank in the category “trade” and so outpacing 30 other applicants.


In order to fulfill the mission of guaranteeing the supply of pharmaceuticals to all Austrian citizens, Richter Pharma braves the adverse weather conditions and forces of nature: on 29th August on the occasion of the dramatic flood in Tyrol and Vorarlberg Richter Pharma delivers the urgently required pharmaceuticals by helicopter.


The Pharma Logistik Austria GmbH as private limited company and 100% subsidiary of Richter Pharma is founded. The pre-wholesaling activities grow strongly and today amount to 50% of the Richter Pharma turnover already. In addition, the second distribution centre located in Groß-Enzersdorf close to Vienna is opened in 2006.


In the course of the revitalisation of the old “Fritsch-mill” in the “Maria-Theresia-Street N° 41” the company’s third site in Wels is established. This “competence centre” houses the company’s managing board, the marketing and sales units, customer service as well as the department of development.


For the first time ever Richter Pharma achieves an annual turnover of over 300 million EUR with around 330 staff in the fiscal year 2010. Richter Pharma therefore achieves rank n° 235 of the top-500-companies of Austria and rank n° 46 of the biggest companies in Upper Austria.


Change in the board of directors:
As of 1st July Roland Huemer, the former CMO of Richter Pharma, was appointed chairman of the board of directors. In his new function, Roland Huemer is responsible for marketing, logistics, manufacturing and research & development. His member on the board of directors remains Friedrich Pöcherstorfer, who is responsible for finance operations.