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Prescriptions and Medications

Italy - Prescriptions and Medications

Italians don’t always head to the doctor when they need some medical assistance. Many of them make their way to a pharmacy instead for some advice on medication they should use. Since most varieties of medicines are easily available in Italian pharmacies, many expats choose to pick up their drugs, as and when required, instead of shipping huge quantities across from their home countries.

When in need of medication, look for a farmacia, which is the Italian word for a pharmacy. It is easy to spot a chemist as all of them have the sign of a green cross or a white cross on a green background. In any Italian town, at least one pharmacy will be located near the main piazza or close to a train station. Stay away from anyone who offers to sell droga, which is the Italian word for illegal narcotics.

In most of the Italian towns and cities, the chemists are open from 8:30AM till 12:30PM and then from 3:30PM to 7:30PM. The drug stores generally operate on a rotational schedule, so that a minimum number of them are operational on any given day, including bank holidays and Sundays.

The major cities like Rome, Milan and Venice have pharmacies that are open 24 hours, for dispensing emergency medication. However, after midnight customers need to ring a bell to summon the chemist. A duty roster is published in the local papers and is posted on the doors of all pharmacies. All chemists in Italy are privately owned and have been run by generations of the same family. While some of the farmacia have been around for many decades, there are no chains, like often seen in the US and the UK.

Pharmacies in Italy generally carry the most commonly prescribed medicines and customers can purchase them fairly quickly. However, the names of the medicines may be different and therefore, it is best to ask a doctor about the general name all the drugs used regularly. Customers can choose to buy pills (pillole), injections (inienzioni), suppositories (supposta), syrups (sciroppo) and less commonly, powders (polveri). Italian chemists are also known for stocking prescription spectacles, diabetic foods, skincare products, toiletries, cosmetics, herbal remedies and homeopathic pills. Some of the pharmacies perform simple tests like blood pressure checks for their customers.

Some medicines that require a prescription in the US or the UK may be purchased over the counter in Italy. However, even the over-the-counter (OTC) medication is kept behind counters and customers need to let the chemist know what drugs they are looking for, instead of picking and choosing. In fact, in Italy it is very common for customers to describe their problems and symptoms to the chemist for a recommendation on which drug is most likely to treat the problem. At the moment, medicines can only be bought at pharmacies, though that may change soon.

Unlike American and Britain, prices of medicines are not controlled by the government in Italy. The cost of different drugs may vary depending upon the brand. While prescription drugs are likely to cost less in Italy as compared to America and Britain, over-the-counter medicines could cost a lot more.

For over-the-counter medicines like aspirin, vitamins, throat pastilles, gargles and topical creams, full payments need to be made at the point of purchase. Customers registered with the social security in Italy pay only a percentage in case of prescription medicines such as insulin, eye drops, ulcer medication, cortisones, antibiotics, antacids, hormone treatments and anti-inflammatory drugs. It is best to check with local health authorizes about the exact payable percentage.

Given below are the contact details of a few pharmacies in Rome –

Farmacia Primavera Dr. Alberto
Via Appia Nuova 213 A-B, Roma
Tel: +39 06 701 1812; +39 06 701 6971

Farmacia Centrale Di Gioacchino Giorgio
Via Cola Di Rienzo 124, Roma
Tel: +39 06 323 5387; +39 06 232 5371

Farmacia Risorgimento Dr. Giancarlo Brienza
Piazza Risorgimento 44, Roma
Tel: +39 06 3973 8166; +39 06 3973 8183

Farmacia Calzolari All’Europa
Via Paive, 86, Venezia
Tel: +39 041 930556
URL: http://www.farmaciacalzolari.com

Farmacia Santa Margherita
Sestiere Dorsoduro, Venezia
Tel: +39 041 522 3872

Farmacia Al Lupo Coronato
Castello 4513, Venezia
Tel: +39 041 522 0675
URL: http://www.lupocoronato.com

Farmacia Bramante
Via Giovanni Pacini, 30, Milano,
Tel: +39 02 266 3311
URL: http://www.framaciabramante.it

Farmacia Ambreck
Via Antonio Stradivari 1, Milano,
Tel: +39 02 2952 6966
URL: http://www.ambreck.it

Farmacia Concordia
Via Corso Concordia 16, Milano,
Tel: +39 02 799860
URL: http://www.farmaciaconcordia.com

Additional information on Italian pharmacies is available on http://www.farmavia.regione.lazio.it/farmavia/start.do and on http://www.mercuriusrelocations.com/guide/id75.html

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