Foreign Medicine Prescriptions in Panama – Can I use my prescriptions from abroad?

Prescriptions In Panama: What Is Available and How To Ensure You Get The Right Level Of Care

Accessing Medication in Panama: Healthcare in Panama is of good quality, with numerous pharmacies throughout the country. Obtaining prescription medication and/ or Prescriptions in Panama, should generally be hassle-free. However, certain drugs are subject to restrictions, as we’ll discover a bit more below.



Panamanian drug laws are strict. Prior to your arrival, contact immigration if you have any concerns about your prescription. Remember to bring your medication in its original packaging along with your prescription. Some expats have faced challenges bringing medication into the country recently.


Over-the-counter purchase

Over-the-counter purchase of antibiotics, sleeping tablets, and strong pain medication can be difficult; a doctor’s prescription is required. Nevertheless, pharmacies are generally well-stocked, and once you have registered with a general practitioner (GP) , you should be able to access your medication. Panama invests approximately US$620 million annually in pharmaceuticals and has recently revised its legislation to manage any critical shortages.

Major pharmacy chains in Panama

Major pharmacy chains in Panama, such as Arrocha, Metro X, and El Rey (part of a 24-hour supermarket chain), are known for knowledgeable pharmacists.

Cost of Prescriptions in Panama

Medication in Panama is significantly cheaper than in the USA or other parts of the world. Both over-the-counter and prescription remedies are affordable. Inquire with your pharmacist about generic equivalents as well, as they are usually less expensive.
Check if your insurance covers your medication and whether you need to pay upfront. Keep the receipt and submit it to your insurance provider for reimbursement.
If you are an expat retiree, you can voluntarily opt into one of Panama’s national health insurance schemes. Additionally, you may be eligible for a pensionado discount, which covers doctor visits, hospital stays, and prescription drugs. This discount applies to Panamanians, expats with a pensionado visa, and expat women over 55 or men over 60 with a residency visa. In the long run having a local residency can bring many advantages and cost savings. Feel free to click here to have a look at our residency options or contact us for any questions that you might have.

Ensuring Proper Care

Upon arrival in Panama, register with a local GP. You can find clinics online or in the phone book. Independent pharmacies are also available. In rural areas, they may operate through clinics or doctor’s offices. Alternatively, you can order medication online, but check with your doctor if any of your required medications are restricted and need Prescriptions in Panama.


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