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Dominican Republic - Prescriptions and Medications

Pharmacies are called Farmacias in Spanish and are located everywhere. Even a small town will have over 20. The standard sign is a green cross, but many just have their name. They are typically open 8am to 8pm and some will also be open on Sundays. Several pharmacies also have delivery services, so that you can just call and any medicines you require will be delivered to your home. The majority of pharmacies are independently owned so you are unlikely to see national chains. In addition most colmados, or corner shops will stock basic medicines such as pain killers and antibiotics.

Typically most people self prescribe and the vast majority of medicines can be bought over the counter. This will include strong pain killers, antibiotics, steroids, anti inflammatory and sleeping pills. The only drugs which require a prescription are narcotics such as morphine, although some pharmacies will also provide this without a prescription even though it is against the law. Also if you visit a doctor they will either issue you with the medicines in the surgery, or will write you a prescription.

Medicines are available by brand name, and also several generics of each brand. The generics are significantly cheaper so it is always worth checking the name of the generic. The medicines typically come from South America or are manufactured here in several different laboratories. Some laboratories are better than others, so it is worth checking which are best. Be aware that some medicines are practically fake and do not work at all – trial and error is the best way of finding out.

It is not necessary to buy a whole packet of tablets. They are all sold singly. A typical antibiotic, or anti inflammatory or blood pressure pill will cost RD$ 5 (15 cents). All injectable medicines are also available, as are syringes. Most pharmacies will give discounts for cash as opposed to credit card payment, so it is always worth asking for that as they may ‘forget’ when they see a foreigner.

Useful Resources

Pharmacy chains and locations

Government Pharmaceutical Department

This guide was compiled with the help of Lindsay de Feliz, a British expat blogger living in the Dominican Republic. Visit her blog at

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