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Filling Prescriptions Abroad: When Travelling Internationally 

Filling prescriptions abroad isn't straightforward. Filling prescriptions while traveling requires research and preparation. Here's what you should know.

Traveling abroad can be an exciting and enriching experience, offering new sights, sounds, and cultures to explore. However, if you rely on prescription medications, it’s crucial to plan ahead to ensure uninterrupted access to your necessary treatments while you’re away from home. Filling prescriptions abroad requires careful consideration of local regulations, availability, and safety measures.

In this blog post, we will delve into essential information and practical tips to help you navigate the process of filling prescriptions while traveling internationally, ensuring a smooth and worry-free journey.

fill a prescription abroad

Is it Possible to Fill Prescriptions Abroad?

One of the common concerns for travelers with ongoing medical conditions is whether it’s possible to fill their prescriptions while abroad. Or in some cases, maybe your medication was lost along with your baggage? There are plenty of possible reasons why you might need to fill a prescription abroad, so can you?

The answer depends on the destination country and the specific medication involved.

In many cases, filling prescriptions when traveling is possible, but it may require some proactive planning and research.

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What Should You Do If You Lost Your Medication or Forgot Your Prescription?

Losing your medication or forgetting your prescription while traveling can be a distressing situation. But you can take these steps to address the issue and ensure your health needs are met:

Contact Your Healthcare Provider.

If you have lost your medication or forgotten your prescription, you should reach out to your healthcare provider back home as soon as possible. Explain the situation and seek their guidance. They may be able to assist you by providing a new prescription – depending on where you are traveling you may be able to fill prescriptions abroad from your local doctor – or by recommending alternative solutions based on your medical history.

Visit a Local Healthcare Professional.

If you’re unable to contact your healthcare provider or if you require immediate medical assistance, seek out a local healthcare professional. Schedule an appointment or visit a local clinic, hospital, or pharmacy, depending on the urgency of your situation. Explain your circumstances and provide them with any relevant medical information or documentation you have.

This is where the Air Doctor app may come in handy. Filling prescriptions when traveling internationally is often difficult, because of local healthcare regulations. If you use the Air Doctor app you can easily make an appointment with a local doctor (who speaks your language) for a clinic, home, or telemedicine consultation to experience the benefit of local, valid prescriptions.

Reach Out to Your Embassy or Consulate.

If you’re struggling to navigate the local healthcare system or require further assistance, you can also contact your embassy or consulate in the country you’re visiting. They can provide guidance, connect you with local resources, and offer support in obtaining necessary medications or prescriptions.

Obtain an Emergency Supply.

In certain cases, local healthcare professionals or pharmacists may be able to provide you with an emergency supply of your medication, even without a prescription. This typically applies to essential or life-saving medications. However, keep in mind that regulations and availability may vary depending on the country. It’s important to communicate your situation clearly and provide any supporting documentation you have.

Explore Prescription Alternatives.

If obtaining your specific medication becomes challenging, discuss alternative options with your healthcare provider or a local healthcare professional. They may be able to suggest similar medications with the same therapeutic effects or provide you with a temporary solution until you can acquire your regular prescription.

Document the Incident.

Keep detailed records of any communication, medical consultations, or prescriptions obtained during this process. This documentation may be necessary for insurance claims or future reference.

Before going abroad, can I fill my prescription? Yes.
Remember, it’s always advisable to have a backup plan when traveling with prescription medications. Carry a copy of your prescription, a list of your medications (including generic names and dosage information) and keep them in separate locations to minimize the risk of losing everything at once.

While losing medication or forgetting a prescription can be stressful, taking prompt action, seeking professional assistance, and staying organized will help you navigate the situation and ensure you receive the necessary care while traveling internationally.

filling prescriptions when traveling

How to Fill Prescriptions Abroad: Narcotic Prescriptions, CVS Prescriptions, and Other Prescriptions

So how do you fill prescriptions abroad?

Filling prescriptions abroad can vary depending on the type of medication and the specific pharmacy or healthcare system in the country you’re visiting. Here’s what you need to know about filling prescriptions while traveling internationally – including details on the different types:

Narcotic Prescriptions:

You might be wondering, “Can I fill a narcotic prescription early for travel?”. It’s important to know that filling narcotic prescriptions abroad can be particularly challenging due to strict regulations surrounding controlled substances. Before traveling, research the laws and regulations of your destination country regarding the importation and dispensing of narcotics. In many cases, you may need to obtain special permits or documentation from your healthcare provider or embassy. Contact your healthcare provider well in advance to discuss your travel plans and explore alternative pain management options if needed.

CVS Prescriptions:

If you typically fill your prescriptions at a CVS pharmacy in the United States, it’s important to note that CVS may not have locations abroad. However, CVS is part of a network of pharmacies known as CVS Caremark. Contact CVS Caremark or your health insurance provider to inquire about international pharmacy options. They may have partnerships or recommendations for filling your prescriptions while traveling. Additionally, they can guide you on insurance coverage and any necessary paperwork for reimbursement.

Other Prescriptions:

For non-narcotic prescriptions, there are several options to consider:

Local Pharmacies:

Visit a local pharmacy in your destination country and present your prescription. In some cases, they may be able to dispense the medication or suggest suitable alternatives. It’s advisable to have your prescription translated or carry a list of generic names to aid communication.

International Pharmacy Chains:

Some international pharmacy chains, such as Boots or Guardian, have locations in multiple countries. Check if they operate in your destination country and if they can fill your prescription. Be prepared to provide necessary documentation and follow local regulations.

Consult with a Local Healthcare Professional:

If you’re unable to find a suitable pharmacy or require further guidance, consult with a local healthcare professional, such as a doctor or pharmacist. They can advise you on obtaining your medication locally, suggest alternatives, or provide necessary prescriptions.

Embassy or Consulate Assistance:

If you’re facing difficulties finding a pharmacy or accessing your prescribed medication, reach out to your embassy or consulate. They can provide guidance, direct you to reliable resources, or offer assistance in navigating the local healthcare system.

Regardless of the type of prescription, it’s crucial to carry important documentation, such as a copy of your prescription, medical records, and a list of your medications (including generic names and dosage information). These documents will facilitate communication and ensure accurate dispensing of your medications.

Remember, planning ahead, understanding local regulations, and seeking professional guidance will help you navigate the process of filling prescriptions abroad, ensuring your healthcare needs are met while you enjoy your international travel experience.

fill prescription while traveling

10 Tips to Help You Successfully Fill Prescriptions Abroad:

1. Plan Ahead.

When it comes to filling prescriptions abroad, you should start planning well in advance of your trip. Research the regulations and requirements of your destination country regarding prescription medications. Understand their policies on importation, prescription validity, and any specific restrictions.

2. Carry Sufficient Medication.

Ensure you have an ample supply of your prescription medication to last throughout your trip. When it comes to filling prescriptions before moving abroad, it’s advisable to carry extra in case of unexpected delays or emergencies. Keep medications in their original packaging with clearly labeled dosages.

3. Obtain Necessary Documentation.

Carry important documentation, including your original prescription, a list of medications (including generic names and dosage information), and any relevant medical records. Having these documents readily available will assist healthcare professionals and pharmacists in understanding your needs.

4. Translation Assistance.

If traveling to a country where English or your native language isn’t widely spoken, consider translating key medical information. This can include translating your prescriptions, medication names, dosage instructions, and any allergies or special instructions. Translation apps or services can be helpful in facilitating communication.

5. Research Local Pharmacies.

Prior to your trip, identify reputable pharmacies in your destination area. Seek recommendations from locals, online forums, or consult your embassy or consulate. Choose pharmacies located in well-populated areas or near healthcare facilities for convenience and accessibility. You can also get in touch with a local pharmacy and inquire, how to fill a prescription abroad.

6. Consult with Your Healthcare Provider.

Discuss your travel plans with your healthcare provider before departure. They can provide you with additional prescriptions if needed, advise on managing your condition while abroad, and offer guidance on potential alternative medications.

7. Travel Insurance Coverage.

Review your travel insurance policy to understand coverage for prescription medications. Be aware of any limitations, exclusions, or reimbursement procedures. Keep copies of receipts and other supporting documents for insurance purposes.

8. Know Local Medication Equivalents.

Familiarize yourself with the local names or equivalents of your medications. Research alternative brand names or active ingredients to aid in communication with local healthcare professionals or pharmacists.

9. Follow Local Laws and Regulations.

Adhere to the laws and regulations of the country you’re visiting. Respect local customs and restrictions on medication importation or possession. Carry necessary permits or documentation if required.

10. Contact Your Embassy or Consulate.

If you encounter challenges or aren’t sure of how to fill prescriptions abroad, you can reach out to your embassy or consulate for assistance. They can provide guidance, connect you with local resources, or offer support in navigating the local healthcare system.

By following these tips, you can ensure a smoother experience when filling prescriptions abroad, maintaining your health and well-being throughout your international travels.

filling prescriptions abroad

How Can Air Doctor Help You?

When it comes to filling prescriptions abroad – there’s often a lot of red tape and healthcare regulations. This information might be hard to come by. And if you don’t speak the local language, it can just add additional stress to you while you figure out how to fill prescriptions abroad.

This is why you might want to consider using Air Doctor instead.

Air Doctor is an easy-to-use app that connects travelers to trusted, local doctors abroad to get treated anywhere, anytime.

With Air Doctor in your pocket, you have access to over 20,000 doctors and specialists in 75 countries across the globe. Using the app, you can browse and filter doctors according to your preferences and find a doctor that’s right for you.

You can choose from clinic, at-home, and telemedicine appointments – depending on what works for you. Air Doctor is also able to provide local, valid prescriptions and telemedicine appointments in up to 21 languages. The Air Doctor team also offers 24/7 multi-lingual support so you can get help every step of the way.

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Jenny Cohen Drefler

Jenny Cohen Derfler

Air Dr CEO & Co-Founder

Jenny is the CEO and one of the Co-Founders at Air Doctor. She spent more than 20 years at Intel, most recently as general manager of its manufacturing facility in Israel and before that in various engineering and manufacturing roles in Silicon Valley. Air Doctor is her second startup having previously founded electric vehicle company ElectRoad.