±JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
±Compare Expat Providers
±Expat Focus Partners
±Latest Financial Articles
· Expat Focus Financial Update 22 August 2016
· Five Questions You Must Ask Your Expat Financial Adviser
· Expat Focus Financial Update 15 August 2016
· Charles Schwab Announces Account Closures For US Citizens In Five Countries, More Expected
· Common Expat Investment Scams And How To Avoid Them
· Expat Focus Financial Update 08 August 2016
· Expat Focus Financial Update 01 August 2016
· A Guide To International Bank Accounts For Frequent Relocators
· Expat Focus Financial Update 25 July 2016
±Latest Health Articles
· Interview With Stephanie Eltz, Founder, Doctify
· Expat Focus International Healthcare Update 02 August 2016
· The Ten Best Countries For Healthcare In Europe
· Expat Focus International Healthcare Update 26 July 2016
· Expat Focus International Healthcare Update 19 July 2016
Prescriptions / MedicationsBack to top Back to main Skip to menu
France - Prescriptions / Medications
On your first visit to your local pharmacy you can register your details with them and if they operate a computer system when you collect future prescriptions you will only need to give the ‘carte vitale’ and not pay for the prescription. Other systems will require you to pay then claim back the relevant reimbursement from the insurance company or the state. Refunds are paid directly into your bank account.
There is an increasing trend in France to opt for generic rather than branded medication. This is to keep the cost down. A patient is not permitted to refuse generic medication as the insurance company can then decide to refund only the lower cost rather than the cost of the branded medication. Refund rates can be as low as 15% for some types of medication. If a medication is not considered to be essential it is refunded at the lower rate.
To get an idea of the rate that will apply to your prescription you can simply look at the colour of the slip which is attached to every prescription issued. An orange slip is refunded at 15%, a blue slip is refunded at 30%, a white slip is refunded at 65% and a ‘barred’ slip is refunded at 100%. Costs are generally lower than in other countries as many medications are subsidised by the state.
Opening hours for pharmacies are usually from 8.30 am to 7.30 pm and most will close for two hours at lunchtimes. Those in larger urban areas will not close and the pharmacies will be on a rota to provide services out of hours, on Sundays and on public holidays. The details of this service are usually posted in the window of the pharmacy or in the local newspapers.
If you require a drug that is not on prescription you will only be able to get this from a pharmacy. There are no medications available from the supermarket or other shops as they are in the UK or the US. People are being encouraged to try non-prescription medication before they go to a doctor and get a prescription in a bid to ease the pressure on the health service. If you purchase a non-prescription drug you cannot claim back the cost of it from the health service or your insurer. Prices for these items will vary between pharmacies as the chemist is allowed to set their own price for these items.
The French word for pharmacy is ‘pharmacie’ and is pronounced in the same way, making it easy for English speaking expats. The sign used for a pharmacy is similar to that used in the UK, a green cross, making them easy to spot.
Pharmacies offer a range of services and if you are feeling unwell you can simply speak to the pharmacist for initial advice if you would rather not see a doctor. A pharmacist can also offer a wide range of advice on general health issues such as nutrition, weight and smoking. A pharmacist is also trained to check mushrooms for you and tell you which ones are safe to eat.
A pharmacist can also give you an emergency supply of medication if yours is stolen, as you may not be able to see a doctor right away. Many people prefer not to have conventional medication and your local pharmacy will stock a wide range of alternative therapies such as homeopathic remedies and aromatherapy oils. In addition you can purchase a range of veterinary products. Some pharmacies will sell cosmetics but generally you will not get a good selection.
Pharmacies are never part of a chain in France and nearly all are owned individually. Most towns will have at least one, so finding the help that you need is straightforward.
Expat Health Insurance Partners
Our award-winning expatriate business provides health benefits to more than 650,000 members worldwide. In addition, we have helped develop world-class health systems for governments, corporations and providers around the world. We want to be the global leader in delivering world-class health solutions, making quality health care more accessible and empowering people to live healthier lives.
At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.
Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.