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Russia – Prescriptions and Medications

In this article, we will discuss prescriptions and medications in Russia. If you are planning to visit or move to Russia, 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 Russia? What does the sign outside pharmacies look like in Russia?
  • What are pharmacy opening times in Russia?
  • Can common medicines be bought over the counter or do they require a prescription in Russia? Can medicines be ordered online?
  • How are prescriptions paid for in Russia?

Pharmacies in Russia

In Russia, pharmacies are commonly known as “аптека” or “apteka” in the local language. The sign outside a pharmacy is usually a green cross on a white background, which is recognized globally as the symbol for a pharmacy.

Pharmacy Opening Times

Pharmacy opening times in Russia vary depending on the location and day of the week. Most pharmacies are open from Monday to Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. On Saturdays, pharmacies are usually open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. In addition, there are some pharmacies that operate 24/7, especially in bigger cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg. If you require medication outside of regular pharmacy hours, it is advisable to check the location of a 24/7 pharmacy.

Medications in Russia

In Russia, 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.

It is important to note that the rules regarding over-the-counter medication in Russia 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.


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In addition, it is also possible to order medications online in Russia. 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 Russia, 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 Russia are usually valid for a limited period of time, usually three 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 Russian 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 Russian 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 Russia can be quite expensive.

Payment for Prescriptions

As mentioned earlier, if you have Russian 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 Russia can vary widely depending on the type of medication, the dosage, and the pharmacy. Some pharmacies may offer discounts or promotions on certain medications, so it is advisable to shop around before filling a prescription.

If you do not have Russian health insurance, you will need to pay the full cost of the medication. Payment for medication in Russia can be made in cash or by credit card, and some pharmacies may also accept payment by mobile phone.

Traditional Medicine

Traditional medicine is still widely practiced in Russia, particularly in rural areas. Traditional medicine in Russia includes herbal remedies, acupuncture, and other alternative therapies.

It is important to note that traditional medicine in Russia is not regulated in the same way as Western medicine, and there may be potential risks and side effects associated with these treatments. Therefore, it is advisable to exercise caution when seeking alternative treatments and to consult with a healthcare professional before trying any traditional remedies.

In conclusion, if you require medication while in Russia, it is important to be familiar with the local practices when it comes to prescriptions and medications. Pharmacies in Russia are commonly known as “apteka” in the local language, and the sign outside a pharmacy is usually a green cross on a white background.

Pharmacy opening times in Russia vary depending on the location and day of the week, but most pharmacies are open during regular business hours. In Russia, some medications can be bought over the counter without a prescription, while others require a prescription from a doctor. If you require a prescription medication, you will need to visit a doctor who will write you a prescription.

When filling a prescription in Russia, you will need to provide your health insurance details. If you do not have Russian health insurance, you will need to pay the full cost of the medication. It is advisable to shop around to find the best price for prescription medication.

Finally, it is important to exercise caution when seeking alternative treatments such as traditional medicine and to consult with a healthcare professional before trying any traditional remedies.


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