Buying medication

Buying medication locally: in any EU pharmacy

With a doctor’s prescription you can buy your medication from any pharmacy in an EU country, unless the medication is not approved in the country where you want to obtain it. In most cases you will have to pay up front and then request a refund from your health insurance provider. How much will the refund be? The same as if you had bought the medication in Belgium.

Do you want to make sure that the pharmacy abroad is providing the correct medication? Ask your doctor for an international prescription to ensure that the name, active ingredient and dose of your medication are clear to any pharmacist.

Ordering medication online

WHICH PHARMACIES?

Only buy medication online from authorised pharmacies.

In Belgium an online pharmacy must be registered with the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (FAMHP). Check that your online pharmacy is also included in the FAMHP list.

Are you ordering medication online from a pharmacy in another EU country? In that case the site should display a specific EU logo with the flag of the country in question. Click on it to view a list of approved pharmacies in that country.

Also check that the online pharmacy displays its licence holder data and licence number.

Which medication?

Which medication can you buy online from Belgium? Only medication that does not require a doctor’s prescription. You can, however, reserve prescription medication online and collect it, and pay for it, at your local pharmacy.

Online medication must comply with any conditions applicable in Belgium. Is a medicine authorized in the country of the online pharmacy? That does not automatically imply that you can have it delivered in Belgium. Always check first whether it is approved here via:

  • the FAMHP databank. This includes any medication that can be traded in Belgium and the EU.
  • the register of the Belgisch Centrum voor Farmaceutische Informatie (BCFI – Belgian Centre for Pharmaceutical Information), which collates, and provides statements on, any medication available in Belgium.

The online pharmacy must also present a list of all medicines approved in Belgium. Other obligations? The pharmacy must:

  • present the medication objectively without being misleading,
  • provide the relevant information leaflet and advise you to read it carefully,
  • advise you to contact your physician in the event of undesirable side effects.

Be vigilant about fake medication! Are you not buying from a European approved online pharmacy? In that case be on your guard for fake medication, which is illegal. This kind of medication, which may have an adverse effect on your health, is often seized by customs and excise and you will be charged for this. The ‘Medicines and the Internet’ guide of the World Health Organisation (WHO) provides information on what you should be aware of.

WHAT ABOUT HOME DELIVERY?

Medicines ordered online can be delivered to a pharmacy or your own home.

Have you opted for home delivery? In that case the online pharmacy must comply with the following conditions concerning your medication:

  • it must be delivered within two working days of the pharmacy acknowledging your order,
  • in sealed packaging, stating your name and address,
  • in accordance with the appropriate storage conditions, to guarantee the quality and efficacy of the medication.

Finally, a warning about online adverts for miracle cures. Such as, for example, magic slimming pills with a free sample ready for you to try. Would you like to accept this free offer? Without realising you may be signing up for an expensive subscription in exchange for which you will be sent products of suspect quality that may adversely affect your health. Always be wary of offers that seem too good to be true!

Perhaps your medication is associated with specific medical treatment.

Check whether your health insurance provider also covers this urgent or planned care.