One question that might be on your mind before you travel to Bangkok is "will I be able to obtain over the counter medicine there?"The good news is that there are plenty of pharmacies in Bangkok and you will be able to find many of the common medications you might need for much cheaper prices than you will be used to in your home country.
Bangkok has many pharmacies and you will rarely have to walk for more than a few hundred meters to find one. You might not be able to find the brand you need, but there will be a Thai version that will have the same effect. Almost all of the commonly used drugs are widely available in Bangkok, but if you are using a new drug that was just released in North America or Europe then you might not find it in Bangkok yet.
If you are looking to buy over the counter medicine from a pharmacy in Bangkok, here are some tips you should keep in mind:
• To spot a pharmacy in Bangkok look for the building with the white sign and the green cross.
• Don't expect that the average pharmacist will speak English well. It is a good idea to write down the drug name of the product you need. The sales person might not be able to explain to you how to take the medicine, so if you have any questions or concerns you should ask a doctor.
• Make sure that you know the generic name of the medicine you need as well as the brand name, so you can find the same product cheaper under a generic name.
• It is not necessary to have a prescription for many types of drugs in Thailand that you might need to have a prescription for in Europe or North America. This includes anti-depressants, anti-biotic drugs and sometimes even sedatives.
• For example, you can find antibiotics such as Ciprofloxacin, Penicillin and Bactrim over the counter at the pharmacy – which would usually require a doctor's prescription in North America or the UK.
• You will also find most types of cold and cough medication including Dayquil, Nyquil, Tylenol, Aspirin and many others. Allergy medicine is also easy to find and all of these medicines will often be sold at a tenth of the cost that they would be in the USA.
• Most Thai people will visit the pharmacy as their first stop when they are feeling unwell, as seeing a doctor is reserved for until it is absolutely necessary.
• Although the pharmacies in rural Thailand will be few and far between and will have limited opening hours, the pharmacies in Bangkok will usually be open all days of the week until 9pm on week days and shorter hours on weekends.
If you cannot find the medication you need at the pharmacy in Bangkok, you can always try going to Bumrungrad Hospital and being seen by a doctor there, as it is one of the top hospitals in South East Asia.