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Expat Exchange - Prescription Medications and Pharmacies in Hungary
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Prescription Medications and Pharmacies in Hungary

By Betsy Burlingame

Allianz Care
Allianz Care

Summary: Develop a basic understanding of prescription medication procedures and pharmacies before you need them in Hungary.

Prescription Medications and Pharmacies in Hungary

As an expat or digital nomad considering a move to Hungary, understanding the healthcare landscape, particularly regarding prescription medications, is crucial. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to what you can expect in terms of accessing prescription drugs, the cost, and the overall pharmacy experience in Hungary.

Pharmacies in Hungary

In Hungary, pharmacies, known as 'gyógyszertár' in Hungarian, are the primary outlets for prescription medications. They are widely available throughout the country, including in smaller towns, and are typically marked with a green cross. Hungarian pharmacies are well-stocked and offer a range of services, from dispensing medications to providing health advice. Most pharmacists in urban areas speak English, which can be helpful for expats and digital nomads. It's important to note that pharmacies in Hungary operate on a strict schedule, with some offering 24-hour service in larger cities.

Prescription Requirements in Hungary

Prescriptions are mandatory for most medications in Hungary, including antibiotics and other controlled substances. Over-the-counter medications are available for minor ailments, but for anything stronger, you'll need a prescription from a licensed physician. Expats and digital nomads should ensure they have a valid prescription, which can be obtained from a local doctor or, in some cases, from a healthcare provider from their home country if it's within the EU and meets Hungarian regulations.

Cost of Prescription Medications in Hungary

Prescription medications in Hungary are generally affordable, with prices regulated by the government. Many drugs are subsidized, which can result in lower out-of-pocket costs compared to other countries. However, the cost can vary depending on whether you have Hungarian health insurance or are paying cash. Expats and digital nomads with a residence permit can access the national health insurance system, which offers significant savings on prescription drugs. It's advisable to check if your health insurance plan covers medications and to what extent.

Important Considerations for Medications in Hungary

When moving to Hungary, it's important to bring an adequate supply of any prescription medications you're currently taking, along with a copy of the prescription and a letter from your doctor. This will help ensure a smooth transition while you establish care with a local physician. Additionally, some medications that are available over-the-counter or with a prescription in your home country may have different regulations in Hungary. Always check the availability and legal status of your medications before arriving. Lastly, keep in mind that while some international medications are available, they may go by a different name in Hungary, so it's wise to know the generic names of your prescriptions.

Navigating the Hungarian Healthcare System

Understanding the Hungarian healthcare system is essential for expats and digital nomads. If you're employed in Hungary, you'll likely contribute to the national health insurance scheme (TAJ card), which provides access to subsidized medications. For those who are self-employed or without a TAJ card, private health insurance is an option. It's also worth noting that some pharmacies in Hungary offer online services, allowing you to order prescriptions ahead of time for convenience. Always ensure that you comply with the Hungarian healthcare regulations to avoid any legal issues or interruptions in your medication regimen.

Expats Talk About Prescriptions in Hungary

"There is a local clinic and they will prescribe you pretty much all routine medication (blood pressure, cholesterol etc.) if you ask them. I used to take my bottle from the US with me but I realized it was not necessary," commented one expat living in Fonyod, Hungary.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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