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Updated 22 Jul 2015

When you are in urgent need of medication in an unfamiliar city, the issue can quickly become intense. Several questions arise, including: Will I be able to explain what I need? Will I be able to obtain it without a prescription? Ultimately, not knowing whether or not you will be able to obtain the necessary medication can be very stressful.

This is where you need professional assistance. As in many countries of the world, an International SOS Clinic is open in Moscow six days a week, with assistance available in English, German and French.

For short-term headaches, fever and infections there are pills which are sold only in specialized stores throughout the country, called “apteka”.

Global pharmacy chains provide a 24/7 service whereby medicine can be delivered directly to your home. Their internet selling pages showcase the stock assortment available to purchase offline. It is strongly advised that you not apply to small internet stores which do not have offline client centers in Moscow, as they have been known to sell fakes. It is also important to note that medicine delivery in Russia is officially illegal.

If the medicine you require is unknown and there are no substitutes available in Russia, you can make an appointment with a General Practitioner at the European Medical Centre – one of the leading private institutions in the country. Its specialists are mostly members of international professional associations, and can contact your family doctor abroad personally. They are also fluent in English. You can ask for a specialized piece of advice via their internet question page in English before you go. At the European Medical Center the services are priced in euro, but clients pay in roubles according to the local rouble exchange rate. An appointment with a family doctor (if no insurance agreement is provided), can cost in the region of 167 euro.

A consultation with a family doctor at the Medin Medical Center will cost about 1700 roubles, and a mandatory contract for services must be signed first. In Moscow non-international clinics commonly only accept insurance papers from the local intermediaries of foreign insurance companies.

Any public medical institution within the capital will deliver assistance to a patient without the presence of international policies, but in this case, all the services will have to be paid for.


Bigtimemoscow is an expat-oriented English-language blog about life in the Russian capital city.

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