Medicine is something all of us need from time to time. Moreover, in Spain if you need any medicine you have to go to the local pharmacy. The chemists in Spain are referred to as “Farmacias” or “Farmacia”. Does not matter if you are in a big city or a small town you can easily find more than one chemist and these can be easily recognized by the big green neon crosses. Most pharmacies in Spain are usually part of a chain but there are some independent chemists too.
Pharmacies in Spain work in a different manner than many other EU countries. Many medicines including antibiotics can be bought over the counter without a prescription. The pharmacists have much better training and if you feel the condition is not severe, you can simply consult him and get your medicine. This means a visit to the hospital is not always necessary and you can save a lot of time as a result. Pharmacies are also a social hub in Spain where many people come to socialize. This might seem a little awkward at first but you will soon find that this is due to the free basic medical check ups that are offered in different pharmacies such as blood sugar test and blood pressure tests. Therefore the pharmacies here can be a good source of sharing your health condition and get tips to stay healthy.
On weekdays most pharmacies are open from 9:30 am until 2 pm and then again from 5 pm to 9:30 pm. The pharmacies on Saturdays are usually open from 9:30 am to 2 pm. You will find that there are lots of 24 hour pharmacies in operation too and if your nearest pharmacy doesn’t operate 24 hours, then the details of the nearest 24 hour pharmacy are posted on its door.
Presciptions at spanish pharmacies
In Spain, prescriptions are issued in two steps. When you attend the emergency department of a hospital they will issue a medical report. Then the medical report needs to be taken to a general practitioner to get your prescription. So if you think your condition is not severe it is better to go to your local pharmacy and ask your pharmacist for help.
Prescriptions incur charges in Spain. It is only free if you are an EU resident and of pensionable age. All other patients will have to pay up to 40% of the cost of medication, but they have to be registered with the Spanish social security department or have an EU medical card to get this discount. Otherwise, they have to pay for the whole cost of prescriptions. These medical costs can be reclaimed through private medical insurances in some cases. Medicine is much cheaper in Spain compared to most other EU countries.
Speaking English at the ‘Farmacias’
If you don’t speak Spanish then getting your service could be a bit difficult. In tourist areas most of the pharmacists have basic knowledge of English. In other areas where English is not spoken that much it is better to learn some basic Spanish you might need in the pharmacies. If you have a medicine which you need on a regular basis, you should learn the generic names as it will be very helpful.
Find your local Pharmacy in Spain
Here at this useful link http://farmaciasguardia.portalfarma.com/web_guardias/publico/mapa.asp?c=0 you will find all the pharmacies in Spain which are open at night times and at festive days (farmacia de guardia). The map is devided by province and all the open pharmacies will be listed once you click there