Buying Cheap Meds In Thailand 16 Tips.
I’ve been buying cheap meds in Thailand but my needs are pretty lightweight, so I turned to a friend, Greg Miller, who was injured when deep sea diving for the US Navy, and I asked him about his wonderful collection of meds and if they are really as cheap as people claim. In response, he wrote me this:
When I moved to Thailand from the US I found that buying meds here is much more relaxed. Medicines that are out of the reach of many in America because of price, or not available at all because the FDA restricts their distribution, are readily available to the public in Thailand. It’s not perfect in Thailand, but it’s a lot better than in the States. Here are 16 tips for buying cheap meds in Thailand that will save you time and money:
If you’re coming to Thailand from the US you can save a lot of money by stocking up on your meds here. Jjust make sure you have documents when you return. It is also good to have a small supply of the “contingency drugs”, the medicine you are likely to need as things happen in the future. If you can legally buy the meds you need in the US, you can buy them in Thailand easier and much cheaper than back home. You will usually find both the brand name pharmaceuticals you have in the US (running typically about 10% of the cost in the US) and generic brands (could be as low as 1%). That huge price difference can make a major lifestyle difference for many Americans. Some people even save enough to pay for their trip and holiday. If while you are in Thailand you want to meet with a doctor to check out everything and get a legitimate local prescription, it won’t be a major investment as it is back home. I recently met with an excellent English speaking doctor at one of the leading Chiang Mai hospitals for annual heavy-duty check-up, giving me updated prescriptions for my blood pressure and thyroid ailments after giving a whole bunch of tests, and my charge for the doctor was 250Baht ($8.36 USD). And if you have a prescription already written by a US doctor, it becomes extremely simple for a Thai doctor to write a new prescription here. By doing a little internet search on your US medications, you can get the generic or medical name for what you are taking. You should write these down to take to Thailand because they may not be familiar with the brand name used in the US. Often the big pharmas will have a different brand name for the same product for different marketing regions. In the US where they can reap enormous profit margins, they often will have a unique brand name. To repeat: carrying an actual prescription — whether American or Thai — with you prevents a lot of difficulties if the medicines are discovered crossing national borders. Many travelers recommend only buying medicines in the pharmacies in big private hospitals. While this can certainly be a bit assuring, it should be realized that this is the most expensive place to cheap meds in Thailand (the same as in other countries as well). You will save much more if you make your purchase through independent pharmacies. They are all pretty much licensed and have licensed, educated pharmacists who are much more helpful than US pharmacists in their recommendations. Senior Thai pharmacists usually speak ‘medical English’. Most travelers have the wherewithal and savvy not to buy from street sellers, I assume. If you go to a Thai pharmacy and there is no air conditioning and it looks or smells bad, you may want to just make a U turn. Medicines do lose their potency in high heat. Fortunately, poor quality pharmacies are the minority. You have to be a wise consumer in Thailand (in anything you buy). And when you store meds at home, a good place to store them is in the fridge. Birth control pills are available over the counter in Thailand, starting at a cost of a $1 for a month’s supply. You can buy the same brand as back in the US or a generic. Male enhancement drugs can be much less than back home. Cialis Viagra and Levitra are available with no prescription and you will save money. There are also plenty of fakes from China (so examine the package carefully and don’t buy from street merchants or border markets). There are national generics from India and within Thailand. For instance, the Thai equivalent to Viagra, which is called Sidegra, seems to be just as effective (or better) than Viagra and can be purchased in 100mg versions at a fraction of the cost is the US (less than $1 ea.). On a somewhat related note, condoms in Thailand are cheap but most (American) men complain that they tend to be too small. Many anti-depressants, antibiotics, allergy meds, steroids, Valium and other pharmaceuticals that require an expensive doctor appointment back in the US are available over the counter in Thailand (but not always), so don’t be nervous to ask. If a prescription is required, the pharmacists can usually recommend a medical doctor that can take care of this at a minimal cost. Or just pop into a private clinic or hospital. You can have an appointment quickly and cheaply. There are also many medicines not available at all in the US that you can buy in Thailand. This does not mean that these medicines are bad for you. To introduce a new medicine into the US takes many millions of dollars and years of testing, and many companies in the world do not have the resources and inclination to go through the US process Many Chinese herbal medicines fall into this category. Understand that while medicines are easily and cheaply purchased in Thailand, this does not apply to vitamins and supplements. These are generally imported and taxed heavily, so you will find these to be substantially more expensive than in the US. Whenever we go back to the US we stock up on vitamins to bring back to Thailand. Not all meds in Thailand are cheap. There are several OTC meds easily available in the US that are considerably more expensive in Thailand. Simple pain relievers like Aleve and plain aspirin (which legally requires a prescription in Thailand) are expensive. Benadryl seems to be impossible to find in Thailand, and good ol’ Tums are very difficult to find. You also will not find Cortisone cream in Thailand, but Thai pharmacies have a generic brand of hydrocortisone cream that is very expensive. It seems that those medicines in the US that do not have a strong FDA and AMA control, the pricing and availability in the US is much better. Also medicines that in the US might be construed as recreational by some (as in Cannabis) are strictly forbidden in Thailand and have severe penalties in this country and throughout the region. The Drug War was initiated around the world by the US (thanks largely to Dick Nixon), and while sanity is finally starting to be applied in many places in the US, Thailand and other Asian nations have been extremely slow in easing up on this. It is wise to avoid any connection with these drugs in Southeast Asia.
Videos About Thai Pharmacies and Buying Cheap Meds in Thailand.
And, just in case you’re actually sick and need to talk to a Thai pharmacist, here’s a video that teaches you the basic phrases for buying cheap meds in Thailand! (Though most Thai pharmacists speak English).
For most ailments, there’s no need to see a doctor in Thailand so long as you know a good pharmacist and a good Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner. Here’s the best pharmacy for Buying Cheap Meds in Thailand right in in Chiang Mai, where I live. Its owner, the pharmacist, is Khun Mum, and she really knows her meds! She’s also an excellent diagnostician and her prescriptions almost always fix the problem.
Reading on Buying Cheap Meds in Thailand.
CDC Recommends PrEP for Injection Drug Users – AIDS.gov – The study results were released yesterday by the Thai Ministry of Health and CDC. Based on these findings, CDC recommends that PrEP be considered as one of several prevention options for people in the United States at … The EU-Thailand FTA: What Fate For Access To Medicines? – Civil society groups in Thailand and Europe have sounded the alarm over these negotiations in the past months. We fear that access to medicines for people living in Thailand will be one of the things traded away. This will … Interim Guidance: Preexposure Prophylaxis for the … – The iPrEx study was conducted in Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Thailand, South Africa, and the United States. Eligible participants were … Participants were seen every 4 weeks for an interview, HIV testing, risk-reduction and PrEP medication adherence counseling, pill count, and dispensing of pills and condoms. Every 3 months, participants …. If HIV positive, order and document results of resistance testing and establish linkage to HIV care. If HIV negative, establish linkage … CDC – Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) – Research … – When someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, these medicines can work to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection. When taken consistently, PrEP has been shown to reduce …. Web Site Icon . Antiretroviral prophylaxis for HIV infection in injecting drug users in Bangkok, Thailand (the Bangkok Tenofovir Study): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 trial · External Web Site Icon . Lancet 2013;381(9883):2083-90. The Great Flood of 2011, Thailand: A Firsthand Account – CDC – Blogs – Public Health Matters Blog – The Great Flood of 2011, Thailand: A Firsthand Account – Sharing our stories on preparing for and responding to public health events. … They need to set up their own taskforces and working groups in order to create an effective warning system and coordinate with one another. They should also have their own emergencies supplies on hand. A big thank you to Dr. Wongjindanon for sharing his experience with us and …
More on health care and medication in Thainad: https://www.thailandretirementhelpers.com/medical-care-in-thailand/
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Thanks for this useful and interesting article. I have needed different meds and found some curious differences is availability. Some common US meds are hard to find, expensive or just unavailable here. These are the ones that I have looked for and know.
Benadryl brand is mostly unknown, but the generic, diphenhydramine is common and cheap. It is available as pills and in anti itch creams. For mosquito bites, Cadramine-V lotion has calamine and diphenhydramine and is even is some 7-11.
Creams with a cortisone are available in different names from the US. Many anti itch creams have a cortisone, Betamethasone, a mid strength cortisone is common. Thai pharmacies seem to like giving shotgun creams for skin problems. These have an antibiotic, antifungal and cortisone.
Replacement antacids for Tums are common and cheap, 9-12bt for 10. Ask for an antacid, then ask for a cheaper two or three times, until you get under 15bt, that’s it and they work great and taste OK.
Lisinopril for hypertension is a cheap $4/mo generic in the US, here it is uncommon and expensive, 120bt for 10 pills. A substitute med, enalapril is cheap and common.
For nausea, travel sickness, vertigo, Dramamine is common. Bonine, meclizine which works the same, but much less drowsy and the prefered med in the US is not available at all.
Lipitor generic is not available, the brand is expensive as in the US. Simvastatin is cheap and everywhere.
Plendil and tamsulosin are a little hard to find and expensive. Amlodipine is cheap.
When a westerner asks for a medicine most pharmacies first off the most expensive, brand name. Often there are much less expensive generics, ask.
Retin-A cream (Tretinoin) is very cheap in Thailand, 150 bt ($4.60) compared to the US, $80-$100. The cream is licensed by Ortho and made in Thailand, the same stuff.
Thai doctors give way to many antibiotics, even when unneeded for a virus.
Private hospitals that cater to tourists can be very expensive thru their own pharmacies, for even cheap meds.
Large pharmacies in Bangkok can have hard to find meds and sometimes a little better prices.
These are only the differences that I know of due to the meds I look for. If you really need something bring a supply or check ahead.
The doctors in Thailand can be OK to very good and much better then the two turkeys I ran into at University of California San Francisco Hospital.
Thanks heaps for that information! It’s exactly the kind of detail that people appreciate, and I’ll publish it in the September newsletter to make sure that everyone gets it.
Thanks for reading it and replying.
If you could proofread it before publishing, that would be appreciated.
Example: differences is availability —> differences in availliability.
The information is great. I am thinking about going to Thailand to be with my son . I take several different meds for heart & blood pressure. So I really need to know if I can get them over there. Thanks.
Send me the list and I’ll check with my pharmacist.
Where is Greg Miller? Strange finding an article by a US Navy diver when searching for medical information if moving to Thailand…
Greg passed away last year, leaving a grateful family and many friends bereft.
Hi! I’ve been searching online and looking for someone to see if I can get trihexyphenidyl ( artane) 2mg or 5 mg in Thailand.. If so, I was hoping if a pharmacy there does shipping to the philippines.
Great article, nice to find a newer result in google – everything on this topic seems to be from 2007/8!
Ive just arrived for a month long work trip, before I left the doc prescribed me a new pain med for my back (gabapentin), changing from codeine and before that, tramadol (at my request, was sick of the lousy feeling being on long term). I didn’t think it through at first but basically the new med does not work for my pain, reading up it seems that it is a completely different type of pain it is meant for and despite knowing my issue, having scans to ensure we known what the issue is – they just changed it without thinking it through and I did not think a pain killer would not work. They did say that I can get pain meds if needed in Thailand over the counter as “he had been” so I thought nothing of it.
So now I’m stuck in Pattaya, trying to work but in agonising pain only to research I cannot get any Codeine, Tramadol.
Does anyone know if you can visit the hospital/docs here for a prescription of this? Would it be easier to contact my home docs to arrange it or just drop in, explain and pass my docs info if they need the MRI scans?
Thanks for any advice people can give!
James, I don’t use meds but I’ll run your request in this month’s newsletter and send you any useful replies.
You can get tramadol, you jyst have to ask.Most do not have it but the ones that do will sell it without a prescription if your nice and accept their council. I dont know of any pharmacies in Pattaya that have tramadol but my odds have been about 50/50 in Buri Ram and Bangkok. They usually only want to give me 3-5 cards of 10 pills, but last time in Bangkok they sold me a box of 10 cards (100pills). If they don’t sell it it’s because they dont have the proper certification. They will usually say you cannot get it in Thailand. The hospital will work to and the independant pharmacies like to see a prescription but I quit bringing mine. Good luck.
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Buying Cheap Meds In Thailand 16 Tips.