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Pharmacies, prescription, reimbursement and care pathway in France

Where to buy medicines in France? How do I know which on-duty pharmacies are open near me? How does healthcare reimbursement work in France?

💊 Prescription or "Ordonnance"

Once you have seen your doctor or a specialist, if you need prescription medication, he will give you a document, called a “ordonnance”. It will list the drugs and the dose you need to take.

👉 You have to go to a pharmacy to buy the drugs.

You can show your prescription at any pharmacy in France - But it is more convenient to go to the same pharmacy each time as they will save your personal information.

🕧 The opening hours of pharmacies and duty pharmacies

Pharmacies in France are generally open Monday to Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. At least one duty pharmacy will be open on Sundays and public holidays. The list is:

  • On every pharmacy window

  • By contacting the local police station

  • By calling 32 37

  • Or here

📃Documents to show to the pharmacist

👉When you arrive at the pharmacy, you will need:

  • Your Carte Vitale (the green card): it allows you to justify your rights to health professionals and to be reimbursed within 5 days, without any procedure.

  • A complementary health insurance or a "Third-Party Paying Card": most health insurance comapnies offer third-party payment at the pharmacy or laboratory. This allows you to pay only the part of the bill not covered by Health Insurance and your private health insurance. Show your health insurance card to the pharmacist to benefit from third-party payment

  • Your prescription or ordonnance

🕧 How does healthcare reimbursement work?

💶 After giving the prescription to the pharmacist, two possibilities:

  • You don't have to pay anything because everything is covered by health insurance

  • You have to pay for part of the drugs and you will receive a "reimbursement" via your health insurance.

Please note, if you wish to buy medication without a prescription (for example, paracetamol), you will not be reimbursed.

👉 Your complementary health is linked to your Ameli account. When you give your carte vitale to the doctor's surgery or pharmacy, the Health Insurance (Social Security) receives the information and informs your complementary health insurance (Mutuelle). Your refund is automatically deposited into your bank account within one week.

👉 If you don't have your vital card on you, the doctor or pharmacist gives you a "Feuille de soin" that you send by mail to your CPAM: "Caisse Primaire d'Assurance Maladie". To find the CPAM closest to you, you can consult this website.


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