Pharmacies and medication in the Netherlands
A chemist or drogist (drugstore) supplies non-prescription medications, general toiletries, cosmetics, condoms etc. An apotheek (pharmacy) is the only outlet for prescription drugs. Pharmacies also sell other items such as over-the-counter-medicines, vitamins, etc. and will provide advice on taking medication.
For students, the pharmacy is mostly relevant for vaccinations for travelling abroad, contraceptives and allergy medication.
Who pays for medication?
If you have basic health insurance in the Netherlands, standard rules apply to which medication is covered. Via this link (the website is in Dutch) you can check whether a particuler medication is covered by your insurance in full, in part, or not at all. Generally speaking the costs will only be covered if the medication was prescribed by your GP.
IN THE NETHERLANDS, THE AVERAGE PHARMACEUTICAL COSTS PER YEAR PER PERSON ARE MUCH BELOW THE EUROPEAN AVERAGE
If you don’t have a Dutch insurance policy, the following rule applies: If you have European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) the pharmacy will declare the costs of your medication directly with your insurance (even if it is not Dutch). You will not have to pay for them at the counter. Of course this only applies if you insurance actually covers the particular medication you need. If you do not have a EHIC, then you will have to pay at the counter, and send the bill to your insurance yourself.
Find a pharmacy
To find a pharmacy close to you, use this link. The page is in Dutch and says ‘Zoek een apotheek ‘ (ENG: Find a pharmacy). In the search bar type your postal code or city. A map will appear with the pharmacies closest to you.
For emergencies, you can always go to the pharmacy in the Academic Hospital (P. Debyelaan 25, Maastricht. From the main entrance follow route 8, level 1). It is open 24 hours per day.
LSP – system
In the Netherlands, medical practices in one region share information in a system called LSP. Your pharmacy will ask you for permission to share your medication information in this system. It comes in handy if you every visit a medical specialist or the emergency room and they want to check which medication you are already using does not conflict with the treatment they propose. The system is highly secured and only accessible for medical specialists and under very strict regulations.
Register with a pharmacy
It is possible to fill prescriptions at other pharmacies, but registering a regular pharmacy (by giving them your contact details and insurance information) provides several benefits.
- Your GP may be able to email your prescription directly to the pharmacy, so you can simply pick up your medicine when you are ready.
- As they have a record of your prescription history, it gives the pharmacist the ability to check that you haven’t been prescribed conflicting medicines.
- If this pharmacy is registered with your particular insurance scheme, you often won’t have to pay directly for the medicine
- Many GP practices also have a message service where you can order repeats of on-going prescription medicine, which you can collect from your pharmacy the next day.
Registration with a pharmacy is always free of charge.
We advice to register with the pharmacy that your GP uses, and to use that one always, so that your medical records stay in one place and as up-to-date as possible. Your GP will generally work with various pharmacies in the area, so feel free to pick the one you feel is best for you. To register, you usually should visit the pharmacy and bring your pasport and insurance information, as well as any relevant medical information. Sometimes it is possible to register online.
If you have been taking medication in your home country and want to continue taking the prescription in the Netherlands, be sure to bring along the prescription and hand it to the pharmacy upon registration.
What to bring
If you register at your pharmacy via online registration, please remember to bring your ID and insurance card the first time you actually go there to pick up medication. The pharmacy will add a copy of these documents to your file. They need to see you in person with your ID to verify that you are really you.
Our recommendation: The 7 Jules partner pharmacies
Jules works very closely with a group of pharmacies in Maastricht. At these pharmacies, the staff speaks English and is very used to working with internationals, as well as new inhabitants from the city from other parts of the Netherlands. They are well informed about different insurance schemes, and moreover: any GP in Maastricht will be able to work with these pharmacies as well.
The pharmacies we work with are:
- Apotheek Schoepp Mosae Forum (Gubbelstraat 4)
- Apotheek St. Pieter (Glacisweg 30L)
- Apotheek Römkens (Potteriestraat 139)
- Apotheek Malberg (Malbergplein 15a)
- Apotheek Annadal (Becanusstraat 15)
- Apotheek van Thoor (Penatenhof 90) – open on Saturdays
- Apotheek Caberg (Clavecymbelstraat 37) – open on Saturdays
Also, Jules card holders get 10% off on all over-the-counter products at these seven pharmacies. To find out more about the discount, click here.
For opening times and more details about the pharmacies, click the links.
If you want, you can register online with one of these pharmacies. Click the link below for the online registration form. Your details will be sent to the pharmacy directly and they will contact you to confirm your registration. You should only be registered with one pharmacy at a time.
If you visit the pharmacy to register and show your Jules card, you will receive a nice gift.