Obtaining prescriptions while traveling

Travel Forums Round the World Travel Obtaining prescriptions while traveling

1. Posted by timdfw (Budding Member 3 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Hello everyone - first post here, so I'm not sure this is a relevant post.

I am in the planning stages of going fully-remote in early 2020. My first hurdle to overcome is the need to take daily prescriptions. I have noticed that some travel insurance plans do cover prescriptions (with very specific conditions), though I'm wondering if anyone has experience with long-term travel while needing daily medication.

Thanks for any tips or resources!

Tim

2. Posted by road to roam (Travel Guru 239 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Quoting timdfw

I'm wondering if anyone has experience with long-term travel while needing daily medication.

Yes.. however we travel without insurance.

In our case it's possible to get what would be a prescription medicine in the US without a prescription elsewhere - for pennies. What's more, many of these drugs - including the one we get outside the US when we travel - are manufactured in the same facilities as the severely marked-up medication in the US.

If you find you need a prescription drug in Mexico, many pharmacies have a doctor who'll consult with you for about $5 and write you a script, provided you buy that drug from the associated pharmacy.

So I guess it depends on the medication and the country you are in/will be in. Are you able to get your medication without a script in any of the countries you plan on being in?

[ Edit: Edited on 12-Jun-2019, at 16:27 by road to roam ]

3. Posted by timdfw (Budding Member 3 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Thanks for the reply!

I'm unsure if the prescription can be purchased locally. Are there reliable resources where I can look this up?

At least initially, my adventures will take me from Venice > Trieste > down through Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece. I will be planning on bringing an additional 60 day supply as a backup, in case I have trouble finding medications / doctor to write a Rx in these countries.

4. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1157 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

I travel for extended periods, usually up to three months at a time, and bring a sufficient supply of prescription medicine to last the entire trip. While some might not have difficulty in obtaining the same drugs overseas, and perhaps at more reasonable prices, my experience is that some medicines might not be available at all or if they are the names and formulations might be different.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to determine in advance if a medication is available in the places you plan to visit, unless you know someone there who can check. I've traveled with people who went from pharmacy to pharmacy looking for a certain drug only to come up empty-handed. And it doesn't have to be medicine. Try hunting for hydrogen peroxide in parts of Madagascar as a fellow traveler did without success.

If your prescription drug is important make sure you have enough with you. I begin a six-week trip Tuesday and I have mine already. It's the first thing I packed.

P.S. While some dispense with travel insurance because of cost and other considerations, I always purchase emergency medical and evacuation coverage. I've never had to file a claim; but I know people who have. I've also met someone who had no insurance, had a heart attack in China, and had to recover there.

[ Edit: Edited on 12-Jun-2019, at 16:14 by berner256 ]

5. Posted by timdfw (Budding Member 3 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Great advice! I'm definitely going to purchase some emergency travel insurance, especially for being gone "indefinitely".

My US insurance company will only pay for a 30 day supply, so anything additional is out of pocket. However, I believe my GP might be amenable to the idea of just changing the "instructions" on the prescription to "3 times per day". That would effectively triple my quantity.

6. Posted by road to roam (Travel Guru 239 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Quoting timdfw

Great advice! I'm definitely going to purchase some emergency travel insurance, especially for being gone "indefinitely".

This is REALLY something I know I should consider more. I am too soured by bad experiences with for-profit insurance here at home, although that is not a good excuse - especially as I am looking down the long barrel of some hereditary conditions (possibly). I looked into this insurance once and the price sent me running! Luckily, the medicine we do get is not a crucial one. Still.....

Can't imagine what 3 years coverage would cost for us....

[ Edit: Edited on 12-Jun-2019, at 17:45 by road to roam ]

7. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1157 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Check with your employer's US medical insurance plan. Mine allows for up to a 90-day supply of prescription medication (same price for one month, two months or three months). My plan charges $25 for a generic; and $80 for a branded medication. So atovaquone/proguanil (generic Malarone) costs me $25 for a 90-day supply. My doctor knows that I travel overseas at least six months each year.

It might be wise to use an insurance broker that specializes in travel policies to help better manage costs. I buy travel insurance for one thing only: Primary emergency medical and evacuation coverage (the insurer pays first, regardless of other coverage). The other bells and whistles (trip interruption, trip cancellation, baggage insurance, etc.) aren't important to me. Those are covered by my credit cards, or I self-insure for those.

Trip cost is important in calculating the premium that includes primary emergency medical and evacuation coverage. Generally, the lower the trip cost (which you set when you buy the policy) the lower the premium cost. For details, talk to an agent. I've used the same one for the past 12 years. As always, compare policies and prices.