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Prescription medicines not supplied in Portugal

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Posts: 29
 Tams
Community Member
Topic starter
(@tams)
Eminent Member
Joined: 1 year ago

Hi - I hope someone can help.

I have two prescription medicines that are long term and have been taking for quite a few years. I managed to secure several months supply of both medicines before I left the UK but that supply is now into the last month. I have been advised by local pharmacy and centro de saude that neither of them is available in Portugal! I cannot exchange them as they are specific long term. I am attempting to find online suppliers and have found a supplier for one of them, bu not the other yet. These are UK based suppliers though and that means having them sent to a UK address and then having to risk having them posted on to me.

This problem is now a real worry. Does anyone have any idea where i can help with this? Both the medicines are manufactured within the EU so I have no idea why they are not available in this country. One is for blood pressure and the other HRT. So hardly uncommon conditions and the two medicines are not unusual or ultra specialised.

The option of exchanging them for other medicines is not a good one because the two i am taking are specific for my health and trying to do so would create very adverse health risks.

Any advice or pointers to where i can get help with this would be very much appreciated as time will soon run out and I will be without either1 Which would cause a lot worse problems.

10 Replies




Posts: 123
Admin
(@thomasribatejo)
Estimable Member
Joined: 5 years ago

Medical licensing is country specific, and it is illegal to import into Portugal medicines not licensed here. Furthermore, it is illegal to import any medications in more than small quantities without an Infarmed license. There are online pharmacies selling into Portugal from elsewhere - however, you have no guarantee of the medication not being stopped and destroyed en route.

It would be worth verifying whether your medications are not licensed; or whether they are licensed but not available. You could also check with any Portuguese support organisation for the condition(s) in question, to see if they are aware of a solution, as your situation may not be unique. That said, it seems likely that those medications would never be prescribed here, so they may only be able to advise alternatives.

I appreciate this is not especially positive. I am sympathetic to the situation, and share in it to a much more minor extent. However, Portugal controls its medical licensing within its own legal framework, so you must operate within that to guarantee care for your condition. Be aware that, as and when you seek treatment for this or other conditions, there may be insistence on a change at that point to bring you into line with Portuguese regulation. It may be advisable to speak to your home country specialist to see what they advise, should a change of medicine be essential.

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Posts: 29
 Tams
Community Member
Topic starter
(@tams)
Eminent Member
Joined: 1 year ago

Thankyou for the reply. How and where do I go to find out if my medications are licensed? Because surely there must be a licence for them.  I find it odd that my friend readily can have a prescription without question at the pharmacy for a heart irregularity which is quite specialised (and expensive) yet I am told that the two (common) medicines that I take for two (very common) conditions are not available! Something doesn't add up. 

Assistance from the UK at my old registered health centre is something I am going to have to do anyway. But first to find out about the licences for these medications whoever will tell me this?

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1 Reply
Admin
(@thomasribatejo)
Joined: 5 years ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 123

@tams a good starting point would be to Google the names of the medicines (and/or the active ingredient) and Infarmed which is the Portuguese regulator, and use the browser's translation function to help you if need be.

Unrelated medicines and conditions can be differently regulated, of course, so one person's success with their thing is no indication about something different. Some things are prescription only in one country, over the counter in another, and freely available in a third country; and countries can be tough on different things. 

As I say, I am not saying what you need is not licensed; but if it is (and your initial intel from pharmacy and centro de saúde is that they may not be), the long term solution is an alternative medication or medications, as for sure the conditions in question will have a viable treatment here. It's highly unlikely you'll get around or change the licensing. You may have little option, in moving here, but to consider alternatives, in discussion with medical professionals in the UK and Portugal as to what would be best for you.

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Posts: 1980
VIP Member
(@old-bloke)
Noble Member
Joined: 13 years ago

Here's the Infarmed search page to see what is available in Portugal, or an alternative medication for those that aren't available. You can search by brand name or active ingredient.

https://www.infarmed.pt/web/infarmed/servicos-on-line/pesquisa-do-medicamento?fbclid=IwAR0tOM508sExlMDsVmszDnh4bH-xWTtV4uqNGOec8mfa2Q3LtzKV5rWfKtk

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2 Replies
Premium Member
(@davidgaliel)
Joined: 6 months ago

Active Member
Posts: 6

@old-bloke @Tams 

On the top right of that Infarmed search page, there is an switch to view in English - just click on the "EN" (unfortunately one can't link to it directly)

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Community Member
(@jeanmori7)
Joined: 3 weeks ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 32

@davidgaliel awesome site for the database of medicines:

https://extranet.infarmed.pt/INFOMED-fo/index.xhtml

Could not find my prescribed vitamin D but I am counting on the Portugal sun to take care of that !

I could find my wife's prescription for high-blood pressure (apparently caused by me which I strongly disagree).

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Posts: 8
 Jst
Community Member
(@jst)
Active Member
Joined: 5 months ago

I agree with Thomas. As a pharmacist, my first thought was that there must be alternatives available in Portugal. There is almost always more than one medicine for even the most specific medical conditions. When you see a Portuguese doctor discuss the situation and I'm sure they will be able to prescribe something that is safe for you and available.

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