Prescription and Medications

Pharmacies are easy to identify by their signs bearing a green cross. Prescription medications require a local, French doctor’s prescription.

Pills are sold in boxes and usually contain 4 weeks of treatment per box. Instructions on how to take the medication is written on the doctor’s prescription, not on the package. Each package contains a leaflet (“la notice”) with information (in French) regarding side effects, when to take medication, etc. The pharmacist is also available to answer any questions you may have.

If you are covered by French Social Security the pharmacist will bill the Social Security System and your mutuelle directly. You might be responsible for a portion of the cost that is not covered.

Long Term Medication: 

A doctor’s prescription generally covers a maximum period of 6 months.
As a general rule, medication is only dispensed for one month at a time by the pharmacist.  The pharmacist does not keep a record of your prescription so you must therefore retain the original prescription (it’s wise to make a photocopy in case you misplace it) and return to the pharmacist to obtain the remaining months of medication on your prescription.  

It is a good idea to establish a relationship with a pharmacist in your neighborhood but you may go to any pharmacy you wish for subsequent refills as long as you present the original prescription. 

Unlike in certain countries, French doctors do not call in prescriptions to pharmacies.