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Medicine in Japan

ID番号 N34849 更新日 平成29年4月13日

There are two ways to buy medicines in Japan. You can buy over-the-counter medications at drugstores (薬店, yakuten or ドラッグストア, doraggu sutoa), but for prescription medicines you will need to take your prescription to a pharmacy (薬局, yakkyoku or 調剤薬局, chouzai yakkyoku).

 

For common colds and stomach aches you can easily buy over-the-counter preparations at pharmacies or drugstores. However, to treat specific symptoms, it is very difficult to find the best medicine unless you are examined by a doctor and given a prescription.

 

In the past it was common for hospitals to dispense drugs directly through an in-house pharmacy. Now, in line with the specialization of pharmacies away from hospitals, it is more likely that you will receive your medication at an independently-operated pharmacy.

 

Usually there is a pharmacy very close to every clinic and hospital but you can go to any pharmacy that is convenient. At the pharmacy you’ll follow a similar procedure as at the doctor’s. Walk in and hand your prescription and health insurance card to the receptionist, wait for your name to be called, and receive and pay for your medicine. The pharmacist will explain how to take the medicine. If you have trouble with the Japanese, take along this Medicine Usage Guide.

 

You can also look up medicine in English using this website.

Drug Information Sheet (Kusuri no Shiori)

 

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