This a sign that you’ll find often in France, the green flickering cross of the pharmacy. Here are a couple of things you should know about pharmacies in France.
What is it ?
Don’t worry there won’t be big reveals, pharmacies are places to buy medicine, but a couple elements differ from what you may know in your country.
What is sold in a pharmacy ?
In France, a pharmacy ONLY sells medicine. Compared to some countries where pharmacies also sell everyday products, you won’t find any TP or last minute grocery in a pharmacy in France.
What is a parapharmacie ?
Parapharmacie is a category of product found in pharmacies and supermarkets linked to health and beauty. It’s not medicine. It’ll be more skincare, dietary supplements etc.
Can I find medicinal products outside
of a pharmacy ?
Answer is simple no. From Ibuprofen to the very specific medicine you might need for a condition like asthma, it’s always in a pharmacy, never in a supermarket.
What about emergency situations ?
In France, pharmacies like any other shops have classic opening hours from like 10 am to 7 or 8 pm.
However, for emergency situations, the pharmacies of a city or a neighbourhood organise opening shifts. These are the “pharmacie de garde”. You’ll find there the closest pharmacie de garde to your location.
How does it work to get my
Do I always need a prescription to get
No, some of the meds are available without any prescription. For minor conditions like a cold, a little fever etc, you don’t have to go to the doctor to get a prescription. Just go to the pharmacy and explain your situation, they’ll give you the product you need.
However, some meds require a prescription. Giving you an exact list of the meds available with or without a prescription would be too long and boring. You may just go to the closest pharmacy and ask if you can get the product.
How can I get a prescription ?
Pharmacists are not allowed to prescribe medicine. Doctors only can.
Thus, if you need a specific medicine, get to the GP first. Here is the article about going to the doctor.
- Pharmacists only sell medicine and don’t prescribe, only the doctors can.
- Don’t forget your Carte Vitale, it’ll help you have your meds reimbursed.
- For minor conditions, pharmacists can just sell you some products if they are available without a prescription.