medicines in the Philippines and drug stores

pillsCosts for medical treatment and drugs are high in the Philippines. Especially “branded” drugs are very expensive.
When you need medicines in the Philippines you just go to one of the many drugstores and buy them. Often you do not need a prescription. Or at least you are not asked for it.
Only drugs like morphine and the like can be bought if you have a doctors prescription. Almost all other ordinary drugs which people have to take can be bought just over the counter without prescription.

Expats like me are most of the time already a little older and often have to take medication to stay healthy. Maybe you also need some pills: to control your blood pressure, diabetes or cholestorol, or some other disease.
As long as you know the name of the drug (better the generic name) and how strong the drug must be, you will easily find a drugstore where you can buy them. With the GENERIC name I mean the working ingredient in that drug. Not the brand name.
Some drugstores offer only ‘branded’ medicines, other drugstores offer generic drugs, which are much cheaper and have the same impact on a human body than a branded one.
So if you need some medication when you are in the Philippines, it is just a matter of finding them as cheap as possible. As I wrote already: medicare is already very expensive, so try to save on your needed drugs.
It always will be handy if you know the generic name of your drugs. The “brand” name you are used to in your country might not be available here or has another name in the Philippines. If you want to know the generic name of your drug you can find it easily on the internet. A very handy site is: this one. You can even find the name if you only know the color of the pill and what is written on it. Try it. But there are many more websites. You can also ask your doctor or pharmacist.


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So where to buy your drugs as cheap as possible.
My experience is that The Generics Pharmacy is one of the cheapest for common drugs. Every store has a pricelist available with all drugs they are offering. See a list of their products HERE. They have more than 1000 branches nationwide.

The second, with a bigger assortment available, is more expensive and offers more branded drugs is South Star Drug. Some of the South Star drug stores are open 24/7. This chain is only in Luzon available. Many in Manila and surroundings.

And the third one I am mentioning here is Mercury Drug Here you can find all kinds of drugs, Branded and generic, but you have to ask for generic if you want them, otherwise they just give you the most expensive branded ones. This chain of drug stores is spread all over the country and many stores are open 24/7. Aside from that many stores also offer basic daily needed NON-drugstore goods, like soft drinks, diapers, bread, powdered milk and many more products. I have even seen cigarettes and alcohol in one of their stores.

medical expenses are highThere are many more drugstores in the Philippines, but I would like to advise everybody to buy your drugs in one of the larger chains. Smaller drug stores, not connected to a chain, sometimes offer drugs which are too old or not approved by the Health Department. SO BE WARNED !!

On my website and in emails sometimes I get (automated) messages from or about on-line Pharmacies from all over the world and they all promise to send them through ordinary mail to your house. I do not have any experience with this so I cannot write about it. I am curious though, if the customs and mail service of the Philippines allow this. If anyone of my readers (within the Philippines) has experience with it, I would like to know. Just mail me your experiences, eventualy through private mail.




Leave a Reply or Comment

    • Hi Michelle,
      For sure there will be something available like this.
      Just go to a Pharmacy and ask about it.

  1. i am thinking about leaving the USA for good….how much money i should have to live permanently over there? i don’t have a high life style, just average joe…