Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Pharmacies and drug stores are not the same thing over here. In the USA, every drug store has a pharmacy inside it. As do lots of grocery stores. Not so over here. Here there are pharmacies where you buy medicine. And there are drug stores where you can purchase toiletries.
If you want cold medicine, aspirin or even baking soda then you have to visit an actual pharmacy. Just look for the big green cross outside the building. When you go to the lékárna you find that everything is behind the counter. Even the over-the-counter (no prescription required) stuff is behind the counter. You tell the pharmacist what medicine you want, or what symptoms you want to treat, and he or she will get it for you. It was such a joy when I first moved here and had to purchase aspirin. Fortunately, many of the pharmacists speak either a little English or German.
When you have an actual prescription then things get a little fuzzy with the math. There is a mandatory 30 Kč (~$1.75) fee per medicine. So two different medications cost 60 Kč, etc. Then your health insurance picks up part of the cost and you pay the difference.
I went to the doctor's office this morning and it turns out that I have tonsillitis. The doctor wanted to excuse me from work for a few days. Oh hell no!! I'm catching a plane to Rome tomorrow night. Honestly, how in the heck do I get tonsillitis before I'm supposed to go on holiday?!?!
The doctor prescribed Aulin. I've never heard of it before. It's an anti-inflammatory and analgesic, kind of like Aleve...I guess. The receipt was very confusing. It looks like the Aulin cost around 90 Kč. I had to pay 49 Kč (~$2.80) but that included my mandatory 30 Kč fee.
Most pharmacies are only open Monday to Friday from 8 AM until 6 or 7 PM and some have limited hours on Saturday morning. Big cities will have a few 24-hour pharmacies and I know where there are two near me.


  1. I actually really miss the lekarnas - or lekarny, I should say (if I remember correctly).

    Much cheaper and more convenient than having to go through the hassle of going to the doctor! That is if you know what you need. (i had a friend who worked in a lekarna)..

    anyway, hope your prescription works!


  2. Hi Chris,
    I just came across your blog today, after seeing some traffic came from your link to my blog! I'm Sher, from Czech Off the Beaten Path--a fellow Czech Republic expat blogger.

    I remember the shock of having to buy ibuprofen and finding we could only buy it at the lekarna! Prices for some OTC meds are higher here, so I stock up when I go home. However, I have to say that prescriptions are much cheaper than back home. Back home, I had to spend close to $400/mo on allergy/asthma medications. Here, I buy 4 months of the same meds for about $70, and that's including the extra 30CZK for each prescription. Such a huge difference!

    I sure hope you get to feeling better and have a great holiday!

    Have a great day,