Buying prescription meds in India


Jan 31st, 2018, 07:01 PM
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Buying prescription meds in India

A few people mentioned in their trip reports that they purchased their prescription medications while in India for much cheaper rates. I was wondering how that works. Do you just go to a pharmacy and ask for what you want? Or do you need to bring a script from your doctor at home? Or do you need to see a doctor in India to get a script? How do you find a "reputable" pharmacy? Has anyone had a bad experience with this? Thanks.
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Feb 1st, 2018, 09:00 AM
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I will risk answering this. Yes, you can buy meds without a prescription in India, you may need to know the name of the active ingredient or the local brand name. I would not advise doing this as a money saving strategy, only if you have an emergency and are not prepared with the medication you need. I have had bad experiences with antibiotics in India, I only bought them once because I had no other option when my son fell sick on his first visit. I have heard of people buying other meds, like cholesterol lowering meds for instance, and having funny labs on their return (cholesterol lower but other labs strangely elevated). I assume you are not talking about OTC meds available in the US (although I carry those from here as well).
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Feb 2nd, 2018, 02:57 PM
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Thanks for the reply. I was considering buying a specific antibiotic in India because it is very expensive here and not covered by our insurance.
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Feb 3rd, 2018, 02:00 PM
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There is a big problem in India with counterfeit drugs. That said. if you go to one of the major hospitals, you'll probably be safe.
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Feb 3rd, 2018, 05:47 PM
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Good to know, thank you!
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Feb 4th, 2018, 06:59 AM
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It’s possible you could get it OTC.

A script from India would not be accepted here as there is no way to verify the credentials of the provider. I don’t think you can use a script written here in India but hey it’s India. Maybe you could. Many MD's here will not write a script for people they don't know but you might get lucky. If you are staying in nice hotel perhaps the concierge could guide you.

Any cholesterol medication can result in elevated liver enzymes so to say this drug made in India caused “funny” lab results is something you can’t prove. A friend of ours here had to stop taking a statin due to elevated liver enzymes.

Last edited by jacketwatch; Feb 4th, 2018 at 07:15 AM.
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Feb 5th, 2018, 07:46 PM
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As mentioned, you can get prescription meds over the counter, without any prescription. We have done this multiple times with no issues. Simply stick to the larger, better known pharmaceutical companies Brands that you should google before you purchase. Prices are printed on the products so never pay more than this price, and they are much cheaper than in the USA.
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Feb 6th, 2018, 02:39 PM
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Great, thank you!
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Feb 6th, 2018, 11:16 PM
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Its said that every drug has 3 names, the 'Generic Name',with names of the drugs of the same 'type' having the same ending. The 'Brand name', which is given by the manufacturer for easier recall and is shorter.Finally the 'Chemical Name' which constitutes the chemical composition and the atomic/molecular structure of the drug....and of course the strength / dosage

It would be advisable to get a report from your GP/Specialist doctor,back home, on your medical condition and approach the same qualified specialist in any of the well known hospitals in India. Get a prescription for the equivalent drug,share the info with your GP/Specialist back home.Once approved , purchase it in the pharmacy of the same hospital.
Time consuming but you won't lose sleep and will enjoy your holiday.

Yes, there are spurious drugs being sold but you should be safe and sure about the drug from a pharma in a large hospital.
Some of the large well known pharmacy chains in India is Medplus and Apollo. Every/any city worth its salt would have many. Google them.
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Feb 13th, 2018, 08:45 PM
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It is better to bring your doctor's prescription with, as inquest very rightly points out above, the 'Chemical name' also mentioned. Here by Chemical name I mean the basic salt ingredient.
Things are getting a bit tighter in India and thankfully so. You may not be able to get the drugs across the counter without a prescription. This is particularly true of those which are habit-forming. There is a huge list of drugs which can not be sold without a doctor's latest prescription. These lists are on display at reputable Chemists.
The second issue is of potency. In India our doctors give, so I believe, a slightly bigger dosage than those practicing in the West. It may have something to do with immunity levels of the general populace but I guess this is better answered by those more Qualified.
Buy drugs from reputed shops and there are plenty in every Indian city. There are medical stores within the Hospitals from where one can buy authentic medicines.
Be Happy & Healthy!
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