Home » South Africa » South Africa – Prescriptions and Medications

South Africa – Prescriptions and Medications

If you are planning to visit or live in South Africa, it is important to understand the local practices when it comes to medications. In this article, we will answer the following questions:

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

Pharmacies in South Africa

In South Africa, pharmacies are commonly known as “pharmacies” or “chemists” in English, and “apteke” in Afrikaans. 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 South Africa vary depending on the location and day of the week. Most pharmacies are open from Monday to Friday, and some are also open on Saturdays and Sundays. However, the opening hours can vary from pharmacy to pharmacy, and some pharmacies may have limited opening hours on certain days.

It is advisable to check the opening times of your local pharmacy before visiting to ensure that it is open when you need it.

Medications in South Africa

In South Africa, some common medications such as painkillers and cold remedies can be bought over the counter without a prescription. However, more potent medications such as antibiotics or medication for chronic conditions usually require a prescription from a doctor.

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


Get Our Best Articles Every Month!

Get our free moving abroad email course AND our top stories in your inbox every month


Unsubscribe any time. We respect your privacy - read our privacy policy.


In addition, it is also possible to order medications online in South Africa. 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 South Africa, 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.

When you go to a pharmacy to have a prescription filled, you will need to provide your health insurance details. If you have South African 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 South African health insurance, you will need to pay the full cost of the medication.

Payment for Prescriptions

As mentioned earlier, if you have South African 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 South Africa 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 South African health insurance, you will need to pay the full cost of the medication. Payment for medication in South Africa can be made in cash or by credit card.

In conclusion, if you require medication while in South Africa, it is important to be familiar with the local practices when it comes to prescriptions and medications. Pharmacies in South Africa are commonly known as “pharmacies” or “chemists” in English, and “apteke” in Afrikaans, and are recognized by a green cross on a white background. Pharmacy opening times can vary, so it is important to check the hours of your local pharmacy before visiting.

Some common medications can be bought over the counter without a prescription, while more potent medications usually require a prescription from a doctor. It is also possible to order medications online, but caution should be exercised to ensure that the online pharmacy is legitimate and that the medication is safe and legal.

When filling a prescription in South Africa, you will need to provide your health insurance details. If you have South African health insurance, you may only need to pay a small co-payment for prescription medication. If you do not have health insurance, you will need to pay the full cost of the medication, which can vary widely depending on the type of medication, the dosage, and the pharmacy.

Overall, it is important to be knowledgeable about the local practices and regulations when it comes to prescriptions and medications in South Africa to ensure that you receive safe and effective treatment.


Latest Videos

Expat Focus Financial Update February 2024 #expat #expatlife

Expat Focus 28 February 2024 2:53 pm

This error message is only visible to WordPress admins

Important: No API Key Entered.

Many features are not available without adding an API Key. Please go to the YouTube Feeds settings page to add an API key after following these instructions.