What does a pharmacy do?
At the pharmacy you can get prescription medicines, self-care products, health products and it is possible to ask for an advice on all sorts of minor ailments. Questions regarding medicines and health will be answered by the pharmacist. You may visit your local pharmacy anytime without an appointment.
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Advice on medicines
The pharmacy not only dispenses medications but also provides you superior and clear information about medications and their proper use. When the doctor prescribes you a drug that you have not used before then you will get an explanation of the functioning and the purpose of the medicine. Also you will be informed about when you can expect improvement in your symptoms or how to prevent side effects and how to use the medicine properly. In addition always ask the pharmacist whether the medication can be safely used in combination with your other medicines.
The pharmacist shall submit all data recorded in a medical file and in case of a request it can be provided quickly. This medication list is convenient to carry when you travel, go to another pharmacy, or if you are being treated by different doctors. You can always show to the pharmacy which medicines you are using or have used for preventing drug interactions. This information is always available digitally to other health care professionals if you give your permission for it.
For proper documentations and medication, it is highly recommended to purchase your medicines at the same pharmacy each time.
Advice on self-care drugs and other health products
In ailments for allergies, headaches, constipation, cold, athlete's foot the pharmacy can recommend you self-curing products that you do not need prescriptions.
For advice on medical devices, travelling or needed vaccinations, vitamin supplements and skin care you may also contact the pharmacy.
Contraception and emergency contraception
Have you had unprotected sex or have you forgotten a daily dosage of the contraceptive pill? Would you like to know if you should use the morning after pill? Do not hesitate to ask the pharmacist for advice. The morning after pill is available without a prescription at the pharmacy. If it is necessary to use the morning-after pill, you get all the information about the correct use, function and the possible side effects. If more than 72 hours (3 days) ago you had unprotected sex then you can no longer use the morning-after pill. You may consult with the doctor what is the best choice.
Drugs that are in the basic health insurance can be reimbursed. This also applies to the associated care of pharmacy. Including antibiotics, asthma inhalers and antidepressants. Please be aware of the excess. Some drugs are only reimbursed in certain conditions. Such as birth control pills, antacids, laxatives and sedatives. The pharmacy can inform you about the drug reimbursement.
Drugs with the same active ingredient are often available of several brands that is also known as the multisource pharmaceutical products or generic products. The health care provider may choose one brand to be designated as the preferred agent. This is called affirmative action or preferential policy. The purpose of this policy is that manufacturers can reduce drug prices. Which drug has been designated as the preferred agent, may vary by insurance companies and can change each year. Consequently, sometimes you might be given different brand of medicine than the one that you are used to.
When you get prescription drugs you are not only paying for the drug, but also for ancillary service of the pharmacy. This is usually a sum of around € 6. It also contains the cost of the checking of the prescription whether it is in a proper form or the strength, the dosage and the duration of the treatment are correct. If you were prescribed a medication for the first time then you pay a little more, about € 12. The pharmacy provides this extra care as the compilation of the medication record and oral and written explanations on the operation and use of the drug.
Urgent care Pharmacy
After the opening hours of your local pharmacy, like in the evening, at night or on weekends, you can contact the Urgent Care pharmacy. This is a pharmacy which provides pharmaceutical care outside office hours for a larger area. When visiting the pharmacy service, it is advisable to bring your ID, a list of the medications that you use, insurance records and cash or debit card. Keep in mind that your debit card from a different country is not always acceptable in the Netherlands. Be aware of possible long delays because of limited capacity and crowdedness. In Utrecht, the Urgent Care pharmacy is located in the Urgent Care Centre at the Diakonessenhuis hospital.