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? website or link ? over the counter prescriptions in Switzerland, Italy or hungry?

I've struck out many times trying to find out if i can fill a prescription over the counter in a pharmacy in Switzerland, Italy, Hungry or France. Is there a link or web site I can go to?

Posted by
799 posts

Unless Hungary is the exception (dunno, ask @MrE), the other countries will not fill a prescription issued in the US. (US pharmacies cannot fill a prescription issued in Europe either, we had a reason to ask this recently.) When I come to Sweden, my US doctor sends a note to the pharmacy that I will be traveling internationally & most of the time, I get what I need for 2-3 months. The exception may be for "controlled" meds like codeine or sleeping pills, I would be surprised if you can get more than 30-days. (PS, I just realized you may be asking about Paxlovid for Covid, some people have been able to get this filled in the US before departure, but not from my HMO.) Hope that helps!

Posted by
5144 posts

How do you fill a prescription over the counter? Prescription drugs are by definition not over the counter. To get a prescription drug while in Europe, you need a prescription written by a local doctor. Ask your hotel concierge or the nearest pharmacist for the names of nearby doctors

Posted by
23473 posts

I have a couple of fairly critical medications taken on a daily bases. I carry an extra week/ten day supply but should that be lost then I would need a replacement in short order. I have a written Rx using generic or common names for the medication from my local doctor. I would take that Rx to a local doctor (clinic??) and have them rewrite or write a local Rx for the local drugstore. The system has never been tested but it was my doctor's recommendation as to how it should be handled.

Posted by
8664 posts

Your doctors' authority to write prescriptions for you doesnt normally extend outside your state, let alone another country, who probably doesn't know your doctor, or her signature.

What you'll find is that in many countries local pharmacists are allowed to dispense some medications on their own authority. But you cant rely on that.

Posted by
4605 posts

And as an aside, if you normally take expensive prescription meds you should research your destination to see if they are available OTC for less. My friend stocks up in Italy every summer.

Posted by
11499 posts

What Stan said. A local doctor has to prescribe, but having your doctor’s Rx to take to a local physician and get proper authorization for a refill. I am quite sure you can do this in Italy if the medication is approved in the country. Not all are.

Posted by
4605 posts

Well Elvis I'm not a pharmacist but Google seems to know just about everything. Or reach out to a large pharmacy at your destination.

Posted by
11535 posts

How do you fill a "over the counter prescriptions ?" Prescription drugs are by definition not over the counter. (CJean)

Clarifying what it is you are looking for, Rx or OTC, would help

Not asking you to divulge your medical issue, but not knowing what the object of the search is does make finding it a real challenge.

Another question that comes to mind is, why are you unable to bring what you need with you?

Posted by
7728 posts

While it is possible that something that requires a prescription in the US is available "Over the Counter" without a prescription, it is usually limited to fairly common meds. There are also a middle class of drugs, ones that based on the Pharmacist's judgement, they can dispense. The UK has been broadening this group of drugs, for example, mainly to reduce the load on Doctors. In this case the Pharmacist is making a diagnosis in lieu of a Doctor.

The other problem you will run into is that many drugs are not directly equivalent. Something you take here may just not be available. A similar, or the same drug marketed under a different name might be though.

If you could share what you are looking for, people might be able to help.

As others said, if it requires a prescription from a Doctor, your US prescription is worthless, except as reference. You would need to go to a Doctor there.

Posted by
584 posts

In Italy at least, many common medicines are available at the pharmacy without a doctor's prescription. You do need to know the generic name and dosage and as another commenter noted, the equivalent dosage may not be available so you might need to split pills or take more than one. For example, the equivalent of Ambien does not require a doctor's prescription. Usually antibiotics and statins are the same. Interestingly, they don't typically dispense pills in bottles, but rather packages of blister-packed pills. I've been told this is to reduce the possibility of a patient overdosing (it's work to open each pill). Another area where I think Europe is ahead of the US...

Posted by
18862 posts

In Hungary, make an appointment with a G.P. and take your US prescriptions with you.

Odds are if everything makes sense, the doctor will write you a prescription, but not guaranteed as they do take their profession seriously. That is, for instance, a GP may not want to write a prescription for serious heart medicine. In Budapest, my first choice would be an expat clinic called FirstMed.

Posted by
10370 posts

OTC. Sometimes.
For example, Boniva in the US is only OTC in France because it's not approved for reimbursement in the national healthcare. Price negotiations between manufacturer and the gov broke down. You can buy Voltaren 2% in France, only 1% in the US.

We've never filled a US script in France. Best to get your 90-day supply to bring. If it's a restricted med, that's a whole different problem.