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Colombia – Prescriptions and Medications

In Colombia, as in many other countries, there are regulations in place to control the sale of medications. In this article, we will explore the regulations around purchasing medication in Colombia, including what pharmacies are called in the local language, pharmacy opening times, and whether common medicines can be bought over the counter or with a prescription.

Pharmacies in Colombia

Pharmacies in Colombia are known as “Farmacias” and are easy to spot thanks to a green cross sign displayed outside. These pharmacies can be found in most urban areas, and some of the larger chains are open 24/7.

In addition to traditional pharmacies, there are also homeopathic pharmacies and drug stores, which sell non-prescription drugs and other health-related items.

Pharmacy Opening Times

The opening times of pharmacies in Colombia vary depending on the location and the pharmacy chain. In general, pharmacies are open Monday to Saturday from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm, and some are also open on Sundays.

It’s worth noting that some smaller independent pharmacies may close during lunchtime or have shorter opening hours on weekends. It’s always a good idea to check the opening times of your nearest pharmacy before making a trip.

Prescription Medications in Colombia

Prescription medication in Colombia is regulated by the National Food and Drug Surveillance Institute (INVIMA), and as such, most prescription medications require a doctor’s prescription. In Colombia, doctors are known as “medicos,” and it’s important to note that the prescription must be written in Spanish.


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It is possible to buy some medications over the counter without a prescription. However, medications such as antibiotics and other controlled substances require a prescription.

Ordering Medications Online

In Colombia, it is possible to order medications online. Some online pharmacies offer home delivery services, but it’s important to ensure that any website you use is legitimate and has a good reputation.

Paying for Prescriptions

The cost of prescriptions in Colombia varies depending on the medication and the pharmacy. However, prescription medications in Colombia are generally cheaper than in many other countries.

Patients can pay for their prescriptions using cash, debit card, or credit card. It’s worth noting that some pharmacies may offer discounts to customers who are members of certain health insurance plans.

In summary, pharmacies in Colombia are easy to find, with the green cross sign making them recognizable. Pharmacy opening times vary, with some chains open 24/7. Prescription medication in Colombia is regulated by INVIMA and most require a doctor’s prescription. Some medications can be purchased over the counter, but antibiotics and other controlled substances require a prescription. Patients can pay for their prescriptions using cash, debit card, or credit card. Overall, medications in Colombia are generally affordable and easy to obtain.


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