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Philippines – Prescriptions and Medications

In this article, we will discuss prescriptions and medications in the Philippines. If you are planning to visit or move to the Philippines, it is important to be familiar with the local practices when it comes to medications.

We will answer the following questions:

  • What are pharmacies called in the local language in the Philippines? What does the sign outside pharmacies look like in the Philippines?
  • What are pharmacy opening times in the Philippines?
  • Can common medicines be bought over the counter or do they require a prescription in the Philippines? Can medicines be ordered online?
  • How are prescriptions paid for in the Philippines?

Pharmacies in the Philippines

In the Philippines, pharmacies are commonly known as “Botika” or “Botika ng Bayan”. The sign outside a pharmacy is usually a green cross on a white background. This sign is recognized globally as the symbol for a pharmacy, making it easy for foreigners to identify a pharmacy in the Philippines.

Pharmacy Opening Times

Pharmacy opening times in the Philippines vary depending on the location and day of the week. Most pharmacies are open from Monday to Saturday between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. On Sundays, pharmacies are usually open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

It is important to note that some pharmacies may close for a lunch break between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. on weekdays. In addition, there are some pharmacies that operate 24/7, especially in bigger cities such as Manila and Cebu. If you require medication outside of regular pharmacy hours, it is advisable to check the location of a 24/7 pharmacy.

Medications in the Philippines

In the Philippines, some medications can be bought over the counter without a prescription, while others require a prescription from a doctor. Common medications such as painkillers, cough syrup, and allergy medication can be bought over the counter in most pharmacies. However, medications that are considered to be more potent or that have a higher risk of abuse, such as sleeping pills or strong painkillers, require a prescription.


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It is important to note that the rules regarding over-the-counter medication in the Philippines may differ from those in your home country. Therefore, it is always advisable to check with a pharmacist before purchasing any medication, especially if you are unsure about the dosage or potential side effects.

In addition, it is also possible to order medications online in the Philippines. There are several online pharmacies that offer home delivery of medication, but it is important to be cautious when ordering medication online. Always ensure that the online pharmacy is legitimate and that the medication you are ordering is safe and legal.

Prescription Medications

If you require a prescription medication in the Philippines, you will need to visit a doctor who will write you a prescription. Once you have the prescription, you can take it to a pharmacy to have it filled. It is important to note that prescriptions in the Philippines are usually valid for a limited period of time, usually six months. After this time, you will need to visit a doctor again to get a new prescription.

When you go to a pharmacy to have a prescription filled, you will need to provide your health insurance details. If you have Philippine health insurance, you may only need to pay a small co-payment for prescription medication. The amount of the co-payment will depend on the medication and your health insurance policy.

If you do not have Philippine health insurance, you will need to pay the full cost of the medication. It is advisable to check with the pharmacy beforehand to get an idea of the cost of the medication, as prescription medications in the Philippines can be quite expensive.

Payment for Prescriptions

As mentioned earlier, if you have Philippine health insurance, you may only need to pay a small co-payment for prescription medication. The amount of the co-payment will depend on the medication and your health insurance policy.

It is important to note that the cost of prescription medication in the Philippines can vary widely depending on the type of medication, the dosage, and the manufacturer. In addition, the cost of medication can also be influenced by factors such as the availability of generic alternatives, which tend to be cheaper than brand-name medications.

If you do not have Philippine health insurance and require regular prescription medication, it is advisable to consider taking out additional health insurance to cover the cost of medication. This is particularly important if you require medication that is expensive or that needs to be taken over a long period of time.

Herbal Medicine

In addition to Western medicine, the Philippines also has a long tradition of herbal and traditional medicine. Many indigenous communities in the Philippines use traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, and this form of medicine is becoming increasingly popular among Filipinos.

If you are interested in traditional medicine, there are several clinics and practitioners throughout the Philippines who specialize in this field. However, it is important to note that traditional medicine is not regulated in the same way as Western medicine, and there may be potential risks and side effects associated with these treatments.

In conclusion, if you require medication while in the Philippines, it is important to be aware of the local practices when it comes to prescriptions and medications. Pharmacies in the Philippines are commonly known as “Botika” or “Botika ng Bayan”, and the sign outside a pharmacy is usually a green cross on a white background.

Pharmacy opening times in the Philippines vary, but most pharmacies are open from Monday to Saturday between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. and on Sundays until around 5:00 p.m. In the Philippines, some medications can be bought over the counter without a prescription, while others require a prescription from a doctor.

Prescription medications require a prescription from a doctor and are usually valid for six months. When filling a prescription, you will need to provide your health insurance details, and if you do not have Philippine health insurance, you will need to pay the full cost of the medication.

Finally, if you do not have Philippine health insurance and require regular prescription medication, it is advisable to consider taking out additional health insurance to cover the cost of medication. It is also important to be aware of traditional medicine practices in the Philippines and to exercise caution when seeking alternative treatments.


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