Romania has a relatively large number of pharmacies, but expats have reported some difficulties in accessing their medication. Some say that pharmacies do not stock their brand medicine, meaning that they must purchase generic medication instead. Romania’s healthcare system is under considerable strain, and, as a result, you may experience problems.
What is available?
We advise that you take your medication into the country in its original packaging. Ensure that you take a sufficient quantity to last for the length of your trip, if necessary – usually you can obtain up to a three-month supply. Health commentators suggest that you may not be able to obtain prescription or over-the-counter drugs in stores or pharmacies in Romania, as the equivalent drugs may not be available and can be of dubious quality.
There are some pharmacy chains across the country, including Catena, owned by Anca Vlad, which has over 500 outlets. Sensiblu (A&D Pharma group) has more than 400 outlets; Dona (owned by Eugen Banciu) has 275 outlets; Help Net (part of Farmexim) has 175 stores; and Ropharma has 125.
Around 17% of drug stores in Romania belong to five of the largest pharmacy chains, and there are also smaller networks, such as Ecofarmacia in Transylvania and Vlad Pharmacy in Timisoara. Romanian pharmacy chain Belladonna recently sold approximately 50 of its pharmacies to the Slovak-Czech investment group Penta Investments. The Hungarian Richter Group owns other outlets.
In 2015, the Generic Drug Manufacturers Association in Romania (APMGR) warned that over 1,300 accessibly-priced generics had disappeared from the local market between 2012 and 2015. This was due to a clawback tax and a mandatory reduction in prices. They say that availability and access to medicines has been lost, as either these are withdrawn from the market or tenders are not performed in a sufficiently timely manner to ensure budget optimisation.
How much do prescriptions cost?
Medication is cheaper in Romania than in many other European nations. There is a reliance on generics, but, as mentioned above, these may be of a doubtful quality, and many may be unavailable.
How to get the care you need
Although there are various pharmacies and dispensing pharmacies attached to hospitals in the country, provision of medication is unreliable. You may be able to find medication online, but this usually depends on the nature of the medication concerned. You may also find that some drugs are unavailable via this route (such as opioids).