You’re not hung over, you’re legally ill—in Germany

Illustration for article titled You’re not hung over, you’re legally ill—in Germany
Photo: KrisCole (iStock)

You might not want to explain to your boss exactly why you’re calling in sick—“It was the Cuervo shots, ma’am”—but roughly a third of Americans will take a day off work after a night of binge drinking. In Germany, that excuse might fly a bit better these days, after a Frankfurt court ruled Monday that hangovers are in fact classifiable as an illness.


German news site Deutsche Welle reports the ruling stemmed from a case in which plaintiffs challenged a company—the specific company is unnamed in court documents—that manufactures powders and liquids claiming to have hangover-curing properties. (You can find these in the States, too.) The suit argued that food and drink cannot claim to treat or cure illness or diseases in their advertising, similar to statutes in the U.S. The German judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, essentially ruling that hangovers are an illness and thus dietary supplements or foods cannot make advertising claims to cure or treat such illnesses.

Per court filings, the products had claimed they were “suitable for treating the symptoms of alcoholism or could prevent a hangover” in order to appeal to their target demographic, “primarily young consumers who consume alcohol when celebrating.” In what is surely unrelated news, Munich’s Oktoberfest is currently underway.

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.



I have only once in my life (about 5 years ago) called in sick when I was actually hungover. The reason was that I was still very drunk, and going in would have probably gotten me fired (it should have, at least.) It made me take a long look at my life, because that’s the really big “have a problem” tell - when it’s interrupting your normal life.  I woke up on my friend’s couch with no recollection of why I was there, which is really really not how I want to be living my life on a weeknight.

Anyway, I still drink, but I’m much more careful about it thees days.