I have a condition that only sometimes needs medication, most of the time not. My doctor gave me a set of prescriptions I can use when the condition surfaces. I only go to the pharmacy to fetch that medication if its needed or before I travel, so I have it on me when abroad. Mostly, I end up not using my medication and throwing it away after the valid until date surpasses. I am just wondering that - like the international drivers license - there is an international prescription standard which can be accepted world wide, so that I don't need to bring the medication with me.

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    They are good in an indirect way when you show it to another doctor. It happened to me in the US, the visit took like 5 minutes then the doctor issued to me a local prescription. The doctor did not bother to diagnose again himself or ask for xrays and stuff, I just paid the visit fee and that's it. Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 13:50
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    Aren't overly broad questions like this one forbidden here? Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 14:29
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    What country are you from and where are you expecting your prescriptions to be honored ? Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 16:16
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    asking if there's an international standard it's specific, not broad.
    – Geeo
    Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 18:36
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    US pharmacies can only fill scripts from US docs, thus no foreign paper could possibly work. So long as the drug isn't abusable I would fully expect HaLaBi's approach to work so long as you can communicate adequately with the doctor and he can read the script. That doesn't mean the drug will be available everywhere, though! Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 19:22

6 Answers 6


As far as I know, there is not such a world-wide standard, however there is an EU regulation. From www.europe.eu:

A prescription delivered by a doctor in your country is valid in all EU countries. However, medicine prescribed in one country might not be available in another, or it may bear another name.

As of 25 October 2013 you are able to ask for a cross-border prescription which is intended for use in another EU country: these are designed to help the pharmacist understand the prescription easily, the ingredients of the medicine and their dosage.

It's possible a cross-border prescription may be accepted somewhere else too, but there is no guarantee.

  • Isn't that link talking about 'Citizens health' ? So the prescription from your country, is really a country in Europe and not a country like the US/Mexico. This is what I make of that link. Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 16:18
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    This regulation is only for EU countries.
    – Dirty-flow
    Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 16:25
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    There are two inaccuracies here. First it is not an EU regulation but a directive (2011/24). A directive has to be transposed by member states, not so a regulation. Second, its entry into force was foreseen for the 25 October 2013. That does not mean that every country has done so. And you still have to check how and what etc. Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 19:39

In almost all the Middle East countries, almost all prescriptions from other countries will be accepted. The reason behind this is simple, most of the Middle East countries do not have controlled prescriptions. You get a prescription then you go to the pharmacy and get your medicines and the prescription, you can reused it! Pharmacies will give you almost any kind of medicine including antibiotics (except some medicines like Xanax) as long as you have it written somewhere even if its on a piece of paper. I know this is a sad fact but this is how things are here. Also, out of personal experience, I can also confirm the same thing in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh.


In Brazil you can buy many kind of medicines without prescription. Just go to a pharmacy and ask for it.

Exceptions are antibiotics and some restricted ones (like psychotropics), in general those that can cause dependency if used for a long time.

In Brazilian Portuguese, the list for medicines that you'll have to have a medical prescription to buy in Brazil is available at: http://www.ccs.saude.gov.br/visa/publicacoes/arquivos/Medicamentos_controlados_prof.pdf


In addition to @Dirty-flow's answer:

This varies from country to country and from medication to medication. For example:

Dypirone which is available over the counter in some countries is banned in others like the United States. So you will need to look at the prescription and ingredients to know for sure.

It is known that prescriptions from the United States are being filled by pharmacies in Canada and Mexico although not for all drugs. In the US the sale of prescription medications is controlled by FDA and DEA, and all doctors capable of prescribing medications must register with DEA so sales of substances with capacity for illicit use can be managed (somewhat) because of this foreign prescriptions are generally not filled in the US. Canada and Mexico may be an exception for non-controlled substances (Texas' policy as an example).

So if you need a prescription for things like antibiotics in the US the best solution would be to visit an Urgent Care facility which is plentiful and the doctor can give you a prescription fillable in the local pharmacy.


In Canada no foreign prescriptions are allowed. Each province has its own regulations about which prescriptions are considered valid. Until recently, most provinces did not accept out-of-province prescriptions, but the rules have recently been relaxed to allow pharmacists to dispense prescriptions from other provinces in Ontario and some other provinces. You will need to see a local doctor and have the doctor write you a new prescription. A letter in English or French from your current doctor may help expedite the process, but a reputable doctor should still insist on seeing you to evaluate your claims. Doctors have been disciplined or suspended for writing prescriptions without first examining patients.


I think it depends on the country you are coming from and the country you are visiting.

As per @Dirty-flow's answer it looks like prescriptions from within the EU will be honoured, however be careful that your prescription is legible and understandable to the person you are likely to be giving it to. I was in an Airport in the UK and there was a man who "Desperately needed his prescription filled out" but the chemist could not read the name of the drug as it was written in another language so he didn't get his medication.

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