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How can Foreigners get Medications in Singapore?

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How can Foreigners get Medications in Singapore?

2021-01-29T09:44:55+08:00October 30, 2020|0 Comments

Having access to medicine is a fundamental human right. That’s why the Singapore government strike to ensure all human beings in Singapore have access to medical facilities. There are three recognized types of medication in Singapore: prescription-based medication, pharmacy exclusive medication, and general sales medication.

The types of medication

As indicated by government guidelines, there are three types of medication in Singapore:

  • Prescription – Only Medicine (POM)
    Prescription-based medicine (POM) requires a doctor’s or any health expert’s prescription, otherwise, they would not be sold.

  • Pharmacy/ Drug store exclusive or Pharmacy-only Medication (P)
    Pharmacy-only Medication (P) is the type of medicine that is available only at certain drug stores and not anywhere else. These medications can only be sold by qualified pharmacists.

  • Over the counter medicine or General Sales Medication (GSM)
    General Sales Medication (GSM) is available everywhere including retail stores. You do not need any prescription to purchase it. This “retail” drug store is like an enormous store situated in various shopping mall chains across Singapore. Popular drug store chains are Watsons and Guardians.
    You can acquire prescription-based medicines from pharmacies that explicitly state that they are ‘dispensing’ medicine. It is wise to keep in mind that the drugs available back home may not be available abroad or are difficult to acquire without a prescription.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

You also have the option of getting TCM products in Singapore, if you prefer TCM over prescription-drugs. TCM is extremely popular and is practiced in Singapore. That is why even large pharmaceutical stores sell TCM products.

Locating a health facility

The Ministry of Health keeps a list of public and private hospitals and drug stores. To locate a health facility, you can either visit the Ministry of Health office or website.

You can also access this information through their embassies. All health facilities in Singapore are recorded individually, and you can find a drug specialist by area and pharmacy name. Drug stores in Singapore do not remain open around the clock. It applies to hospital stores as well. If you require medication in case of an emergency, a 24/7 open health center with a drug store is where you should go.

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Carrying Drugs to Singapore

If you can’t find a specific medicine in Singapore, you may need them to be imported over to Singapore. To bring along external medicine in Singapore, there are two things that you need to take note.

  • First, you need to know if the medicine you are bringing along has any ingredients that are on the ‘Controlled Substance’ or ‘Prohibited Items’ list.
  • Second, you would need proper proof and evidence to support the legality of bringing over these medications to Singapore.

Prohibited Items

To know whether the ingredients of your medication are under the ‘Prohibited Items’ list, you can check it with the health authority of Singapore. It is highly recommended that you check if your medication is eligible for import according to the anti-narcotics law in Singapore. If it is not, you must prepare the necessary paperwork and provide details that will get the medication approved for import. To import a prohibited drug, you need to apply for an official Import Permit. The details can include, your health complication, doctor’s prescription, dosage, etc.

Controlled medication

The drug that contains psychotropic or addictive components fall under the controlled medication lists in Singapore. For these drugs, not anyone or any drug store can dispense it. Controlled medication does not fall under general medication.

To find out whether your medication is a controlled medication, check with the Health Science Authority.

There is a bit of leniency when it comes to importing legal medications as compared to prohibited items. However, there are still some requirements that you need to be aware of before importing these drugs. First, you can only import enough of these medications that are for personal use. And secondly, if you plan on staying for longer periods, then you must get these medications approved for import in large quantities.

As with the case of prohibited medication, you also need your doctor’s prescription with you for these medications as well. As you stay for longer periods, the medications will eventually run out. In this case, you will need to set up an appointment with a new doctor in Singapore and get yourself prescribed new medications.

How can Foreigners get Medications in Singapore? FAQs

Is foreign prescription valid in Singapore?2020-10-30T12:38:02+08:00

Foreign prescription is not valid in Singapore. You will need to visit a doctor in Singapore to receive a new prescription. 

If I am only in Singapore for transit, do I need to apply for approval for my personal medication?2020-10-30T12:37:39+08:00

You don’t have to apply for approval from the authority if you are bringing personal medications but only in Singapore for transit. 

Can I bring medicine on the plane in a cabin baggage to Singapore?2020-10-30T12:37:23+08:00

Yes. You can bring medicine on cabin baggage to Singapore, but it is subjected to additional security checks. You must also declare to the airport security personnel and provide supporting documents for any prescription drug. 

Do I need to apply in advance if I want to bring in 6 months’ supply of personal medications into Singapore?2020-10-30T12:36:27+08:00

Yes. You will need to apply with the authority at least 10 days in advance as long as you want to bring in more than 3 months’ worth of personal medications into Singapore. 

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