For minor aliments, many people go to their local pharmacy (farmacia) as pharmacists are as well-trained as doctors in Spain. Even though Spanish health-care is cheap and of high quality, a trip to your local pharmacist can sometimes save you time on appointments with doctors. A Spanish pharmacy is easy to recognise by the green flashing cross displayed outside or in the window.
Under Spanish law, every town must have at least one pharmacy open at any time of the day or night, so pharmacists (there are no pharmacy chains in Spain, only individually-owned ones) take turns as the farmacia de guardia. You will be able to find out which one is open by looking for the flashing green cross.
Spain is a quite lenient when it comes to the distribution of medications that are strictly prescription drugs in other countries (such as antibiotics), so these are commonly available over-the-counter. However, anti-anxiety medications, anti-depressants and specific painkillers all require a doctor’s prescription. Medicines tend to cost significantly less than in other countries due to state imposed price restrictions. If you are a resident, your medication will either be free or extremely cheap. This also applies to citizens of EU countries and the UK. If you are a non-resident, you will be required to pay for 40% of the cost of the medication, with the Spanish government paying the rest.
Foreign prescriptions are accepted, although they will need to be translated into Spanish (at least the chemical composition). Before you go to this trouble, do check if your medication actually needs a prescription in Spain.
Pharmacies are everywhere in Spain and particularly in Barcelona. The following are not necessarily better or worse than others, they simply have the added advantage of being permanently open 24 hours. Most pharmacies in Barcelona will have someone working who speaks or at least understands a little English.
- Farmacia Castro Accion: Permanent 24 hour service pharmacy (including Sundays). Gran de Gracia 115, Barcelona. Tel: 932 178 747
- Farmacia Clapes Antoja: Permanent 24 hour service pharmacy in the old city (Ciutat Vella).C/ La Rambla 98, Barcelona. Tel: 933 012 843
- Farmacia Laguna Ventosa: Permanent 24 hour service pharmacy in the Eixample district. Provenca 459, Barcelona. Tel: 934 551 207
- Farmacia Salto: Permanent 24 hour service pharmacy in the Sants-Montjuic district. Av Madrid 220, Barcelona. Tel: 933 396 332
- Farmacia A. Torres: Permanent 24 hour service in Barcelona proper, Aribau 62, Barcelona. Tel: 934 539 220
- Farmacia Álvarez: Permanent 24 hour service in the heart of the city, Paseo de Gracia, 26. Tel:933 021 124
- Farmacia Dra. Castells Soler: Permanent 24 hour service pharmacy in tourist central. Paseo de Gracia, 90. Tel:934 876 145
- Farmacia Boada i Soler SCP: Permanent 24 hour service pharmacy in the northern part of the city. Plaza Bonanova,6. Tel:934 178 032
- Farmacia Boquer Torrens: Another Permanent 24 hours service pharmacy in the northern part of the city. Paseo Sant Gervasi, 53. Tel: 934 17 0 240
- Farmacia Cervera Bech Muntaner, 254: Permanent 24 hour service pharmacy, open even on Christmas Day. Tel: 932 000 996