As in the rest of the world, the sale of medicines in Thailand is controlled by the government. The FDA, the Food and Drug Administration of Thailand, regulates not only what can be purchased over-the-counter in pharmacies, but also what can be legally imported into the country.
- What you can buy in Thai pharmacies
- Should you rely on the help of pharmacy clerks
- What medicines it makes sense to bring with you to Thailand
- What medicines can you bring with you to Thailand
In Thailand, retail pharmacies that sell medicines are called Pharmacies. They can be divided into hospital pharmacies and community pharmacies. It should be borne in mind that the prices in the first are higher, mainly due to the fact that they represent brand drug manufacturers. In regular pharmacies you can find cheaper analogues.
Pharmacies that are not associated with medical institutions are well represented in all cities of Thailand. For example, there are pharmacies in Pattaya, if not on every street, then exactly one in every street. All pharmacies are private.
In general, their design is not subject to any one standard. Even the familiar green or red cross or the universal sign in the form of a snake wrapped around a bowl does not always have a place on pharmacy facades. One thing is absolutely certain: the word Pharmacy is necessarily present on the signage. There are pharmacy chains in large cities.
What you can buy in Thai pharmacies
Rules for sale of medicines in Thailand are about the same as in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, but much easier than in Europe or the United States. Here you can freely (without a prescription) buy a large number of Thai or imported medicines that a person may need in case of a slight ailment, cold, runny nose, cough, development of local viral (similar to our ARI) or intestinal infection:
- topical antiseptics;
- antibacterial agents;
However, most of the range of drugstores in Thailand are not medicines, and various Thai herbs and "drugs" of local folk medicine, body care products:
- Sets consisting of dry herbal raw materials for the preparation of infusions and decoctions;
- ready-made herbal infusions;
- Healing juices (in particular, the juice of the Noni plant, which is popular in Thailand);
- There are widely represented jars of what we commonly call supplements;
- various balms (similar to the Vietnamese "star");
- Toothpastes from local manufacturers (considered natural);
- coconut oil;
- bee products.
Tourists should be aware that counterfeit drugs are as common in Thailand as replica cell phones and counterfeit clothing. There are cases where under the guise of a drug can sell a tablet of powdered sugar and baking soda.
In the worst case, the composition may be unsafe components. Therefore, if you are resting in a major population center, such as the already mentioned Pattaya, it is better to choose a more reputable in appearance, belonging to the Thai large chains.
The pharmacies in hospitals are the most trustworthy. Although the products there are more expensive, but there are no fakes. There are four large hospitals in Pattaya, and each of them has its own pharmacy. If you have insurance in Thailand, you will be provided with everything you need in the hospital.
Should you rely on the help of pharmacy clerks
In our subjective opinion, the opinion of pharmacists should not be trusted, not only in Thailand, but anywhere in general. After all, these people, although they have specialized knowledge, are first and foremost salespeople. This means that all the unwritten rules of the trade apply here as well.
And the basic rule is that this is the reality - when a person doesn't know what he wants to buy, you have to sell him something that sells poorly. In addition, foreigners often point out that the medical and pharmacy training of pharmacists in Thailand leaves a lot to be desired - just the case when you are dealing not with a pharmacist, but with a salesman.
Here it should be clarified that this applies mostly to pharmacies that are not affiliated with medical institutions. In contrast, Thai hospital pharmacies get good reviews: they will not only sell the medicine prescribed, but also ask you if you know how to take it.
What medicines it makes sense to bring with you to Thailand
Obviously, the set of medications depends on the diseases that the person has or is prone to. For most, however, it will be appropriate to carry:
- intestinal infections (e.g., Furazolidone);
- Immunostimulant (in case of Dengue fever or other viral infection);
- Anti-inflammatory and analgesic non-narcotic (in case of toothache, headache, etc.).
Antiseptic sprays and lollipops, paracetamol-containing drugs are widely available in Thai pharmacy chains - you do not need to bring them with you. Antibiotics in Thailand are sold with a prescription, which is justified, because the drugs of this range should be prescribed by a doctor if there are clear symptoms.
What medicines can you bring with you to Thailand
As in other countries, Thailand has restrictions on the circulation and movement of drugs containing narcotic substances. What is designated by the word drugs is divided into several categories:
- Drugs are actually illegal in Thailand;
- drugs containing narcotics or their derivatives or precursors;
- Prescription drugs that do not contain restricted substances;
- over-the-counter remedies.
The turnover of substances from the first group is prohibited in Thailand: they do not belong to medicines in the usual sense of the word.
Drugs from groups 3 and 4 can be brought into Thailand without restriction for personal use (i.e. a little). If a person needs constant medication support and the medicine cabinet looks impressive, it is better to have all prescriptions and doctor's orders with you. They will not be superfluous in case of questions from the customs service.
The second group is the most difficult. Here it is necessary not only to have a prescription for restricted drugs, but also to be subject to additional control measures:
- fill out Form IC-2 of the Thai FDA;
- Provide an excerpt from your medical records indicating the patient's health status, the need and intensity of medication, and the physician who prescribed the treatment;
- follow the red corridor in the customs control zone, where you declare the medicines.
Under these conditions, each person can import medicines containing narcotic substances, their analogues or precursors for no more than 30 days of intake. In this case, the medication must have the original packaging, not to be opened. In addition, such a tourist in Thailand is prohibited to transfer or sell the imported medicines to other people.