±A - Join Our Community

Learn from the experiences of other expats and make new friends in our disccussion forums and Facebook groups

±A - Cigna

±A - Read Our Guide

The Expat Focus Guide to Moving Abroad contains everything you need to know when planning an international relocation available now, completely free

±A - Compare Quotes and Save

Insurance, FX and international movers

±A - Listen to the Podcast

The Expat Focus podcast features interviews with expats living abroad and service providers meeting their needs subscribe today!

±A - Expert Financial

From our tax, investment and FX partners

±A - ExpatFocus Partners

Expat Focus Partners

Become a Partner. Click Here.

Prescriptions and Medications

Malaysia - Prescriptions and Medications

Prescriptions and medication are part of most people’s lives. Malaysia’s excellent medical care provides a pathway to most if not all the medication you would access in the United Kingdom or United States. Malaysia has strict laws surrounding narcotics and these laws stretch to prescription medication. If you have to carry medication on your person you will also need to carry a verifiable letter from a Malaysian doctor. There is no shortage of pharmacies in Malaysia and pharmacists are trained to high standards.

Amounts of Medication Permitted on Entry to Malaysia

Prescription medication can be brought into Malaysia if accompanied by a letter from your doctor in your native UK or USA. The medication can be no more than three months’ supply. Non-prescription medication such as basic painkillers has limits on the amount. Each person is allowed to bring in no more than five items.

Over-the-Counter Medicines

Pharmacies are located in shopping malls and main shopping areas of cities. Stronger painkillers such as codeine can only be acquired by prescription from a Malaysian doctor from a licensed clinic. Cough syrups, throat lozenges and other mild medications can be purchased at pharmacies. It is also possible to buy over-the-counter anti-biotic medication on the advice of a pharmacist if there are signs of an infection. Asthma treatments can also be purchased. Make a note of the painkiller law. Malaysia’s strict laws ensure that strong painkillers that we take for granted in the West and are acquired over the counter have to have a prescription. A pharmacist can refuse to sell you painkillers without a prescription.

Pharmacists in the major cities such as Kuala Lumpur and Penang speak English and can answer health questions and guide you on the medicine you’re allowed to purchase. Pharmacists can offer basic medical advice. While pharmacies are strictly governed, the system gives more access to medications that are only available on prescription in the UK and USA. It can be quite alarming when you realize you can buy drugs over-the-counter in pharmacies that are only available on prescription in the UK and USA.

Paying for Prescriptions

If you take a prescription to the pharmacy then you’ll pay the pharmacy directly.

How to Find a Pharmacy in Malaysia

Pharmacies are easily located in health clinics in major cities. There are also stand-alone pharmacies in many shopping areas. In major cities, pharmacies can easily be spotted as the word is displayed in the English version. In more suburban areas you may well see the word “farmasi” displayed. It’s very easy to spot a pharmacy. They look very similar to the ones in Europe and the USA.

In large cities such as Kuala Lumpur, pharmacies are open late and there are some who open 24-hours. These will usually be located in health clinics which offer 24-hour care with doctors on-site. Pharmacies like most shops open around 10am.

Main Pharmacies and Pharmaceutical Organizations in Malaysia

The pharmacy industry in Malaysia is of a premium standard and it is a competitive business. Due to the level of government investment it is safe to say that you’re guaranteed to be served well if you seek the advice of a pharmacist. There is an endless list of pharmacies in Malaysia.

The National Pharmacy Control Bureau’s website has a host of information:


The National Pharmacy Call-Centre offers a toll-free helpline with English speaking advisors. This service is available 24-hours a day.

Tel: 1800-88-6722

The Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society protects the pharmacy industry and upholds its mission statement “Service towards a healthy society”. There are regular meetings with all sectors of the healthcare service to ensure, promote and plan the future of pharmacies in Malaysia.

Pharmacies in Malaysia also offer a wide range of beauty items, stop smoking seminars and weight loss advice. The main pharmacies are as follows:

Apex Healthcare - Apex Pharmacies
134/2, Kompleks Perniagaan Munshi Abdullah, Jalan Munshi Abdullah, 75100 Melaka
Tel: 06 284 7381, Fax: 06 283 2140

Bayan Bay - Pharmacy & drugstore
572 Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, Taman Makmur Jaya, Bayan Lepas, 11900 Penang
Tel: 04 659 1271, Fax: 04 659 3984

Watsons Pharmacies

Guardian Pharmacies

Visit the websites for store locators and a wealth of information. All websites are available in English.


Malaysia provides excellent pharmacy facilities to the general public and any expat is able to access these services. Wherever you’re living in Malaysia as an expat, it is guaranteed you’ll not be too far from a local pharmacy.

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

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.