One thing I am recently grateful for is the Swiss Pharmacy. I had a few prescriptions I had been dreading taking in. I was almost positive the interaction was going to go badly with my French skills.
However, it turned out to be one of my most pleasant experiences yet!
I walked in and presented my four prescriptions, including one for crutches (yes, you have to have a prescription to get crutches).
The guy took my prescriptions, typed it in the computer quickly and walked back and got them all out of separate drawers that the computer indicated. In less than 5 minutes. For four prescriptions and crutches! How awesome is that?
This particular pharmacy handed my prescriptions back with their stamp on them and a receipt. So, I have to bring it back in for refills. Not a big deal.
What else should you know?
–In Switzerland, you must have a prescription from a Swiss doctor to get medicine. You cannot use a prescription from a different country.
–You must file the claim with your insurance to get funds back, this isn’t taken out up-front.
–They do not keep your prescription on file in a computer for easy transfer on refills. They either give it back to you, or file your prescription and make a tick mark when you use one.
–If you are visiting or new here to Switzerland, you should note that grocery stores and convenience stores don’t sell OTC medicines like they do in the States. You have to go into a Swiss pharmacy. But don’t worry – there are a ton of them, one on every corner. When we first moved, our real estate agent jested that she had a client once assume the Swiss were more sick because of the presence of so many pharmacies. Not so; just a different system. Kinda like how you can by alcohol or beer at the grocery store in some US states and not others.
–There may be a Swiss Pharmacy on every corner, but they are not open after 6pm or on Sundays. You can always go to the airport pharmacy if you are in a bind!
–The Swiss pharmacy has over the counter meds as well as high end lotions like L’Occitane.
–This Swiss pharmacy doesn’t have all types of OTC medicines that Americans are used to. If you are an expat, bring 2 years worth of your favorite cold, tummy, and painkiller medicines. Sometimes when you are sick, its easier to just have what you know and like vs. navigate the best substitution in a foreign language.
We are a group of international women living in Geneva, Switzerland. If you would like to join the AIWC, please visit our website at http://www.aiwcgeneva.org/.
Lauren, thanks for the positive article on Swiss pharmacies. Since they seem to be the most expensive in Europe, it’s good that you get professionalism in exchange!
I would like to add one more important bullet and that is you can (and should) take your expired medications to any Swiss pharmacy to dispose of it safely.
Furthermore, I notice two examples that are different at my pharmacy. Recently, my pharmacy is scanning my “ordinance” and noting my refills in the computer. Secondly, my pharmacy is the only place were my medical bill is sent to the insurance company who handles the claim.