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I`m going to travel to India and would like to know if I will be able to purchase specific medication there. Is there an official site or similar indicating what remedies are available at India?

Also, do some medicines require prescription for purchase there?

The medicine that I'm interested is Methysergide, which is called Sansert in the U.S. and Deseril in the U.K.

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Hey Rodrigo, welcome to Travel.SE. It might be useful if you said which medicine you're looking to purchase, if you are comfortable with putting that online. For example - this question: Warfarin in Tajikistan. There are literally tens of thousands of different types of medicines in the world, and on top of that, we try to avoid asking for large, long list questions, as per the faq. –  Mark Mayo Jun 30 '12 at 1:41
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Hi Mark. I asked for an official list because if someone in the future needs to know about other medicine in India they wouldn't have to post another similar question. Although, as you suggested, I added the name of the medicine in the question. –  hooray Jun 30 '12 at 11:57
    
What, in the name of the good lord, is an 'official list of medicines available'? Please edit the question to remove that part because that makes it vague and broad, and not a good fit for Travel.SE. The other bits are all fine. –  Ankur Banerjee Jun 30 '12 at 12:47
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This, in the name of your good lord, is an official list of medicines available in the U.S. accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cder/drugsatfda/index.cfm I'm wondering if India has something similar. –  hooray Jun 30 '12 at 12:54
    
As I said before, as per the faq list questions are frowned upon, which is why there are some downvotes. I've altered your question to improve it from this angle, hope that's ok. I'll also attempt to answer it now. –  Mark Mayo Jul 1 '12 at 0:40

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Legally, in India there are classes of medicines. There's your usual stuff like paracetamol, cough remedies, et al that can be sold without a prescription and are classed as 'over-the-counter drugs'. (Oh yeah, that's the other thing travellers should be aware of. The terms 'pharmacy', 'chemists', and 'druggists' are all interchangeably used in India; 'chemist' is the most common term. So if you ask someone for directions and they don't understand, use an alternative term!)

Prescription medicines are called 'Schedule H drugs' published by the Ministry of Health in India which is essentially a big list of medicines that are 'controlled'. Here's a list of all controlled, 'Schedule H Drugs' in India and I would recommend consulting with your doctor to find out alternative trade names and chemical names for your prescribed medicines. See also: How can I translate medicine names?

You primary concern would be knowing or finding the trade/chemical names of the medicines you want and in the right dosage, not prescriptions. Although all those medicines are supposedly controlled, in reality, most pharmacies will not care as long as you're willing to pay. So you could walk up to them and ask for, say, sleeping pills or anti-depressants and they won't care. Which means that in case you do misplace your prescription, you need not panic as long as you know the name. Again, with the prescription requirements, fancier 'chain' pharmacies such as Apollo Pharmacies are more likely to insist on a prescription, while independent family-run pharmacies are far more likely to take whatever business they get.

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Thanks for the answer. My medicine is likely to be considered a controlled one and since I haven't found it on the list you provided, I guess I will have to take it from home. –  hooray Jul 3 '12 at 12:01
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@hooray You may also want to consult your doctor to find out an alternative medicine which IS on the list, just in case say you misplace yours and need to find something. It'd be better if your own doctor does this rather than consulting a new one in India because your doctor would be aware of your medical history, allergies, etc. –  Ankur Banerjee Jul 3 '12 at 13:14

"Is there an official site or similar indicating what remedies are available at India?" : No such official website available, even if one might exist, no one uses it and probably it would be incomplete and outdated (just like other govt. works here.)

"do some medicines require prescription for purchase there?" : yes for many medicines categorized under Schedule H you require prescription officially, but if you know the name of the medicine and the medicine is not as dangerous to kill you in slight moment, many medical stores will give you them without prescription too.

"you could end up going to a doctor in India and have him have no idea what you're talking about. (I've had this very problem)." yes this could occur, better in such a case try some recognized and big hospital chains like Fortis etc. (at least there docs can understand what you require.)

And please. beware of fake medicines there, always insist on proper bills and check the batch no. and expiry before purchase.

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The best I can find in terms of an authoritative site for medicines in India is available on the World Health Organisation's India site, which has this list of Essential Drugs and Medicine in India - albeit from 2003.

However by far your best bet is to go to your local NHS doctor in the UK and ask them, as they'll have not only an up-to-date list, but also quite often when you travel the names of drugs change quite often. What's known as 'warfarin' in some countries is 'coumadin' in others (comes down to brand names and trade names and weird other issues).

As a result, you could end up going to a doctor in India and have him have no idea what you're talking about. (I've had this very problem).

Ideally your NHS doctor will know if the drugs you want are available - and more importantly, if they're not, what alternative is acceptable - he/she will know your condition and what you should take over there. If I'd listened to some of the medical advice in Tajikistan, I would likely not be around to type this.

As for whether you need a prescription, it'll be easier if you have one - either from a doctor there, or even better, initially, from a doctor in the UK - as some pharmacies will accept drug purchases without out (more likely outside Delhi), whereas others will insist on you having a prescription. Even if you take a photocopy of your normal prescription in the UK, this could go a long way (and prevent misunderstandings).

Some more information on that available on Thorn Tree.

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