Healthcare in Singapore for Foreigners

5 min read|Last Updated: May 22, 2023|

Singapore has one of the best healthcare services and facilities, and as a foreigner or expat in Singapore, there are various types of medications that you should know. Whether you are incorporating a company or moving to Singapore to work, understanding the healthcare system in Singapore is crucial.

Facts Foreigners Should Know About Medical Services in Singapore

If you came to Singapore on an employment pass, you are not required to make contributions to CPF or Medisave. Thus, you should make sure that you are covered by private healthcare insurance, as bills can get pricey! There are also non-governmental insurance schemes provided by the National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) that makes healthcare cheaper and more accessible.

Fortunately, for some foreigners, insurance coverage must be provided by the employer for work permit and S Pass holders. For employment pass holders, employers can choose to provide insurance coverage as part of their employment contract, or encourage the EP holders to get their own medical insurance.

Nonetheless, locals and foreigners alike are free to choose from the plethora of healthcare service providers in Singapore. Hospitals wise, there are 10 acute public hospitals and 8 private ones.

Types of Medications in Singapore

As per the government guidelines, there are three types of medications in Singapore:

  • Prescription-Only Medicine

    • Requires a doctor’s or health expert’s prescription else it cannot be sold
  • Pharmacy-Only Medication

    • Only available at certain drug stores and sold by qualified pharmacists
  • General Sales Medication

    • Available everywhere including retail stores
    • Some of the popular drug store chains in Singapore are Watsons and Guardian

Besides these 3 types of medications, you also have the option of getting Traditional Chinese Medicine.

How to Import Drugs into Singapore

If your drugs or medicine are not readily available in Singapore, you may need to import them over. However, in order you import these medicated drugs into Singapore, you need to know that:

  • The medications’ ingredients do not include those in the ‘Controlled Substance’ or ‘Prohibited Items’ list

  • Evidence to support the legality of bringing over these medications to Singapore is required


Necessary paperwork and details of the medication will be required to apply for an official Import Permit. Some details may include:

  • Health complications

  • Doctor’s prescription

  • Dosage

What are the Controlled Medications in Singapore?

There are also controlled medications in Singapore. These are drugs that contain psychotropic or addictive components and not anyone can dispense it. Find out if your medication is controlled with the Health Science Authority. If you are looking for the list of import restrictions, you can read more about them here.

For controlled drugs, psychotropic substances, and restricted substances, you will need to apply for a license in order to bring them into Singapore.

Here are the specific guides for the 3 types of controlled medications in Singapore:

  • Controlled drugs

  • Psychotropic substances

  • Restricted substances

Health Facilities in Singapore

Health facilities such as hospitals are strategically located all around Singapore. Here’s a quick list of some private and public hospitals in Singapore:

You may visit the Ministry of Health website for the entire list of the types of health facilities, such as GP Clinics, Polyclinics, and more. Polyclinics are subsidised for locals and Singapore permanent residents (PR) to ensure affordable healthcare for the society.

All in all, the healthcare in Singapore is pretty good and accessible for foreigners – there shouldn’t be any major problems in ensuring that you keep healthy in the city.

Should I Get Health Insurance in Singapore?

Yes. It is important that you get a health insurance in Singapore. Healthcare in Singapore can be expensive for foreigners and expats as they will not get the subsidised rates for locals and Singapore PRs.

If you are living in Singapore for a long term, here is a good guide that shares more about the types of expat insurance that you can consider to ensure you’re well-protected in a foreign country.

Moving to Singapore

When it comes to moving to Singapore, whether to livefor work, or even set up a business, there are many considerations before making the right decision. Talk to us and see how we can help make the transition seamless for you!


Come to our office or get in touch virtually for a consultation on your company incorporation with employment pass, and other corporate services.


What if I wish to conceive in Singapore?2023-05-22T17:00:38+08:00

If you wish to do so, you will need to apply for permission via a local sponsor. This needs to be done about 6 weeks prior to the delivery. The sponsor would have to submit the LTVP application online using the e-Service.

Are foreign prescriptions valid in Singapore?2021-08-21T16:03:12+08:00

Foreign prescriptions are 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?2021-08-21T16:04:22+08:00

No approval from the authorities is needed if you are bringing your personal medications while in Singapore only for transit.

Can I bring medicine on the plane in a cabin baggage to Singapore?2021-08-21T16:04:50+08:00

Yes, but it is subjected to additional security checks. You must also declare to the airport security personnel and provide supporting documents for the prescribed drug(s).

Do I need to apply in advance if I want to bring in 6 months’ supply of personal medications into Singapore?2021-08-21T16:05:14+08:00

Yes. You will need to apply for approval at least 10 days in advance if you want to bring in more than 3 months’ worth of personal medications into Singapore. 

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