Prescriptions abroad

Hello everyone - dreaded newbie here. Need advise and help please. At the end of the year hubby and I are going off in a motor home around Europe for six months - possible longer. My problem is my doctor will not give me more than 3 months supply of the three inhalers I take - Salbutomol, Seretide and Spiriva Capsules. We do not want to have to come back after 12 weeks to get my top ups, as this will really defeat the object of 'getting away from it all' does anyone know a way I can get around it, bear in mind we will not be staying in one place long enough to register with local doctors.

33 Replies

  • Can you get a relative to pick them up for you and send them on via fed Ex or courier. If you are staying at one place for a couple of days they will normally be OK with having something delivered to their address.


  • Thanks for the suggestion Bex, I had considered this but if I get caught out , loose one or something I am going to be in a pickle, what I was hoping was there is a way you can have a repeat prescription that was post dated that I could hand in anywhere in Europe, but it does not appear that such a thing exists.

  • I am afraid I can't help with the getting caught out bit, I guess it is a risk anyone takes when going abroad. When are you going is there anyway you can squirel away some upto then. By getting extra repeats or something?

    edited to add: I assume you have actually made an appt with your GP and asked him face to face. I know it might sound silly but when my son went abroad we wanted an extra supply of stuff the surgery said they could not do it so we went to see thee GP who happily wrote out the scripts.


  • I have spoken to the GP, I actually talked to my asthma nurse who said she would gladly prescribe me 6 months worth but the doctor will only sign for three!!!

  • In some countries you can buy certain things over the counter. How you go about finding out which and where not sure.

    What I know you can do is set up an address at post offices around the world where you can have post delivered so that may be a way you can get someone in UK to collect your repeats and post them out to you in advance.

    Im not sure how you set it up but know several friends who have travelled the world and its how I use to send letters out to them.

  • In the UK you can register as a temporary resident and been seen immediately or sometimes depending on the GP just show your meds to the receptionist who will then handwrite the scrippy and then GP will sign without even actually seeing you. I wonder if there is a similar system in Europe, not sure though wonder if anyone else knows. Otherwise you could see a GP in another town to that of your home town as a temp res and tell them you have 'misplaced', forgotton to pack inhalers and need a scrippy, en route to Europe.

    I don't see why your holiday should be marred by the worry of not having enough inhalers. Happy travelling!

  • Another possible solution.. Although in preference I would go for Bex's. You could register with a private gp, and then ask him to write a private script for six months medications, or the extra 3 months that you can'tget from your gp.

    You can't get symbicort in the USA, and I had a gp friend who was willing to send it to me on a private script. ( It would have cost about £45.00 per inhaler) However for whole raft of reasons in the end I changed to seretide. So if you have a friend who is gp that might help.

    Salbutamol is available over the counter in many countries (not the usa)

    Also drugs have different trade names in different countries ie seretide is Advair in the USA.

    I guess if you are in europe you should be able to get a prescription that works over there, however I am sure you will have to pay. I managed to get a steroid inhaler from a chemist in Rome once with no prescription, just showing my empty one.



  • There seems to be no reason for GP not doing 6 months worth unless it is a money thing. Maybe you could er misplace the 1st one and need a replacement?

    I was talking about this with a friend whose daughter has just got 9 months worth of medications to last her whilst she goes on a backpacking holiday, so your request seems reasonable.


  • Aha I have found the answer for posting stuff abaord called Poste Restante more detials here:


    ps you might need to remove spaces that AUK software sometimes inserts.

  • It's not so much a cost thing as a legality thing.

    Technically speaking, the NHS will only fund up to 3 months' worth of treatment if you are going abroad. GPs will differ in their approach - for example, if they knew they wouldn't be reviewing you anyway until 6 months later, then they may give you 6 months' worth and turn a blind eye. Others will stick to the rule book. Any more that 3 months' worth of treatment would have to be funded privately.

    A prescription written on an FP10 (standard green prescription form) in this country will NOT be valid anywhere else other than in the UK.

    To obtain medication in a foreign country you should be able to visit a local healthcare physician and obtain the correct medication. Remember to take your meds with you and a list of their names. It may be useful to discover their ""translated"" names as well, before you go. Because most places will operate on a private healthcare basis, you will most likely have to pay for your medications and possibly a consultation fee as well. Depending on the situation, you may be able to claim some of this back though you travel insurance or the reciprocal health care agreement (what used to be E111).

    It may seem odd that there are these restrictions, but consider also that some people who have emigrated have been known to ""pop back"" to the UK to stock up on their medications because of the free health care.



  • Oppps sorry Cath, did not know about the 3 month rule, I assumed as my friend got the 9 months worth it was ok so long as you were going on holiday I can see the sense in the rule but also why some GP's are ok to break it if they know the person and circumstances, however it is obviously down the individual GP.

    That being the case I would have thought the posting it out option would be best as I guess whilst you are away you would not need a review.



  • I am going to New Zealand for 2 months and Then Maybe another 2 years. Are Prescriptions Free Over there for Foiregners? Btw- I am under 16!

  • helloooo!

    Looking at the different inhalers I get many of them are imported from the EU and relabeled with an english label

    I currently have ...

    Polish singulair

    Dutch Flixotide (A&H / Glaxo)

    Some are also Czech, italian, french etc etc so they are widely available in the EU.

    It is the generic name that is important eg Fluticasone for Flixotide! They are not generics either which cause problems in some people like me!


  • I have been trying to think of crafty ways of getting more prescriptions per month to get a stock up - only thing is my prescriptions are dispensed in the surgery so I can't even come up with the excuse I lost the prescription note. I think I may appeal to my asthma nurse to plea on my behalf - maybe she can say I need a six month holiday and therefore the drugs to take on it - oooh look there goes one of those pink oinking flying things!!!!

  • You could try the ive washed them in my pocket? as one excuse for an extra one? or my bag stollen with them in? my hubby thought was empty and threw away?

    just not too many excuses togather or they may cotton on!!

    good luck xxxx

  • I could come up with a few beauties, but I think because I have talked to the doctor about it he may just cotton on to what I am up to - mind you I am blond so he may believe I could be that stupid *snigger*

  • i was moving and they gave me 9 months of inhalers :/ haha, i cant complain!

  • What did you do bribe the doctor?? was is chocolates? booze? free ticket to Disney land???

  • Hi there Sandy,

    as Cath says, legally can only give 3 months on NHS, and to be honest, are also meant to de-register you if they know you will be away for more than 3 months, although most wouldn't bother.

    Certainly worth asking your own GP if they would do a private script for the extra 3 months, many will if you have been stable on those drugs for a while.

    Otherwise asking someone to get a repeat for you while you are away would be the best answer I can think of.


  • Thank you Sarah, what I don't understand is why my asthma nurse said she would give me six months but the doctor wouldn't!

  • She probably doesn't know the rules because she isn't actually writing the prescriptions.

  • Can someone clarify the 3 month rule. Is it that you can only put 3 months on one prescription form? I had a chat with my GP because I got fed up having to get repeats on a monthly basis for my blood pressure pills. He refused to put more than one month at a time on a script becuase the drugs are too dear to risk them being lost etc.. but was happy to provide 6 seperate scripts at the same time with a month supply on each, basically cutting out the need to pick up scripts monthly from the surgery monthly. Having spoken to my chemist the process is that I hold on to all the scripts and so I can use them in any chemist when I need to get them. What then would stop me going round to 6 chemists in one day?

  • The prescriptions are meant to be post-dated to prevent patients from obtaining 6months of meds in one go. Perhaps your GP hasn't quite grasped the PCT's latest gimmick - for repeat scrippies of Thyroxine or BP tablets you can be given 6 scrippies but they are meant to go direct to the Chemist and also they are meant to be post-dated! LOL

  • Does this apply to inhalers as well?

  • HYi Everyone

    Been interested in reading this thread. Just a thought about names for drugs in other countries. There is a new website called doctorbabel where you can make yourself an individualised health record and a list of your medication in case of an emergency in this country or abroad. Its a site made by very knowledgebale doctors and will substitute the generic name for your drugs in whichever country you are going to (or as many as possible, as it is still an evoloving site). I found it really useful when we went abroad. If anyone uses it, I would be interested in what you think.


  • Sorry Sandy doesn't apply to inhalers at the moment, would be good if it did, maybe will be in the future but at the moment my local Primary Care Trust are only doing it as a trial. However some Drs in my area have also done this for painkillers and even anti-depressants (for the elderly) Just realised why you would be wondering this! You could try to stash some away in advance of your trip, ie i washed it, lost it ,had exacerbation or be seen as a temporary resident in this country on the way to your hols and say you've 'lost' inhalers. Oh dear, hope someone can suggest a way of getting your inhalers in advance of your trip or a safe and sure way of getting them whilst your away. Good luck, Lois

  • The three month rule that I referred to applies to length of treatment that you are effectively able to take with you abroad, though as good practice it does tend to apply to repeats as well. Depending on the kinds of meds you're on and how stable your condition is you may be on monthly or 3-monthly scripts. Swings and roundabouts and some GPs prefer to do things differently.

  • Well I dunno about condition being stable my the old brain will be quite unstable if I don't get this one sorted, thank you for all your advice, I am taking it all on board and have started to apply for repeats one week earlier in and effort to have at least got two more months stored up by the time we go. I think the sensible and probably most 'proper' thing to do is leave my pre payment card with my son, have him request repeats every month, collect them, then say after three months pack them up and send them onto to me where every I am sunning myself at the time - or if global warming plays a nasty trick on me hiding under an umbrella!!

  • Hi where abouts are u going? I only ask because when i was in Rhodes 2 years ago i used all of my ""emergency"" salbutamol by the end of week 1 so went to the village chemist and was able to buy salbutamol inhalers for about £1.50 each. It may be worth trying to find out if u can get your meds that way. xx

  • Hi Hannabella, we we are touring through France and onto Spain, this is part of the problem not staying in one place for long.

  • I am going away for 2 months during the summer and the doc gave me a prescription for 2 salbutamol evohalers and one flixotide evohaler and Tubs of Things for other things too!( Like Ibuprofen for a loose ligament and worn down cartilage in both my Big toes!)Doc says That If I am going away longer to ring them and They will order more! Yay!

  • I appreciate your difficulty - this is a difficult one and one that infringes on our place as people with life affecting problems.

    I do suggest that this problem be alerted to your local MP (AM/MSP/MLA).

    Above all make sure you are fully registered with the Euro Medic Passport.

    At worst it may mean rescheduling the trip so that you, or your husband can access your GP after 11 or so weeks.

  • Hello rstan, can you explain this Euro medic passport to me, I have tried Googling but am a tad confused - not a unusual occurrence I might add!!

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