Where to Buy Medications in Italy

Packing Prescription Drugs and Going to the Pharmacy

Italian Pharmacy Sign
••• Getty Images/John A. Rizzo

In Italy, you can buy many medications, both over the counter and prescription, at the pharmacy or farmacia. Most over the counter drugs and vitamins are not available at the supermarket. Look for the cross sign to locate a pharmacy.

Traveling With Your Medications

If you take prescription drugs, be sure to carry them with you (in their original containers) in your carry-on luggage when flying to Italy.

Do not pack them in your checked luggage. If you're carrying over 3 ounces of liquid medicine, bring the prescription or doctor's note with you.

You should also carry a copy of your prescriptions or list of the medicines you take (the actual drug names, not the generic names) in case you need to buy them in Italy. If you take medications that are essential for you to have, it's also a good idea to give the list to one of your traveling companions as well as someone back home who you can contact if you need to replace your prescription medicine.

If You Need Medication While Abroad

If you need medication while traveling in Italy, head to the farmacia (not the drogheria). The pharmacist will probably be able to replace your prescription drugs for you if you need more for any reason, even if you don't have the original prescription.

While you're likely to find that your prescription drugs cost less in Italy than in the United States, some over the counter medications may cost more -- as much as $1 per pill for ibuprofen.

You might want to bring these with you especially if there is a particular brand that you prefer. Other medications, like aspirin, will usually be about the same cost as in the United States.

More than Just Meds

If you're feeling a little ill, the pharmacist may be able to give you advice, too. There are English-speaking pharmacists in most major Italian cities.

Over the counter medications are not usually on display so you will probably have to ask the pharmacist and they may not have exactly the same medicine you are used to taking. The pharmacist will usually be able to find something equivalent to give you that will meet your needs.

Other essentials that you'll easily find in a pharmacy are contact lens solutions (you can also get these at a store that sells eye glasses), vitamins, toothpaste and mouthwash, feminine products, items for your baby, and sometimes even foods for special diets such as gluten-free pasta.

For more information, read more about the Italian pharmacy or check out more Italy travel tips.