Pharmacies, dentists, and ophthalmologists
Pharmacies (eczane) exist to satisfy the end customer in Turkey, but they are perhaps a little different to those in your home country. On the one hand, you can source medications that require a prescription, in the other, many large pharmacies also provide vaccinations and other basic medical care.
In general, you should have no trouble in Turkey with obtaining the desired drug. Even if your pharmacist does not have what you need in stock, they will be able to order it for you – even from abroad.
While pharmacies are open 24 hours for the most part in major cities, pharmacies can be found in smaller towns, on call (nöbetçi eczane), which are available 24 hours. A sign on the door of the pharmacy indicates whether this is available. Smaller towns and villages have probably only one such pharmacist.
Prescription drugs in Turkey
People in Turkey love medicine. It can happen that you get three or four different prescriptions in a single visit to the doctor. In some cases, you can even get a prescription before your ailment is diagnosed.
This is partly due to the confidence that the Turks put in drugs. Secondly, the Turkish pharmaceutical companies are known to offer doctors money to drive the sale of medications. Underpaid local doctors are particularly prone to this approach. Although regional doctors are qualified, be wary. Instead, engage with foreign doctors to have them prescribe an adequate drug.
Most Turkish Dentists (diş hekimi) are well trained, but some – especially the cheaper ones – seem to have acquired their knowledge exclusively by observation. To avoid poor and especially painful treatment, seek a qualified dentist. The dental treatment is already cheaper than in many other countries. A list of English dentists can be found on the website of the US Embassy.
Many travelers who go on “medical vacations” travel to Turkey to be treated by an ophthalmologist. Turkey has a very good reputation in terms of laser treatment. In fact, there are many Turkish ophthalmologists (gözlükçü) that actually train doctors in this field worldwide.
Pharmacies can be found in Turkey on every corner. They are recognizable by a green cross and the inscription “Eczane”. The employee standard is high and they are typically well trained. Unlike other industries, the professionals are here actually professionals and are subject to very strict supervision. In Turkish pharmacies, besides prescription drugs, you can get other common drugstore items such as diapers, tampons, and sanitary napkins.
Especially in the areas affected by tourism, you can often find an employee who speaks German or English. Most medications that are only available on prescription in Germany, are also handled the same in Turkey – although the handling is more “easy”. Even rare drugs can be purchased quite quickly.
Even women who have forgotten their pill at home can be helped, as a prescription is not necessary. However, do not be too surprised if the “pill” is carefully wrapped in colorful, opaque paper.
Drugs are considerably cheaper in Turkey than in Germany. Before stocking up with prescription drugs for your return trip home, I suggest becoming familiar with European and Germany import regulations. Read more about this at your local government office.