Pharmacists in Cape Town are generally knowledgeable when it comes to common medical ailments, and can give basic prescriptions without the interference of a doctor. However, the law states that pharmacists are only allowed to prescribe drugs of schedule two or lower in an unlimited capacity, and, in the case of schedule three drugs, for a period of seven days. They’re not allowed to prescribe drugs of schedule 4 or higher, or to accept prescriptions made by anyone but a local doctor.
In practice, however, pharmacists tend to use their discretion when it comes to prescriptions, especially when the medication is vitally important (such as diabetic medication or antiretroviral drugs) or should not be stopped suddenly (such as an antidepressant).
If you urgently need medication, do not be discouraged when one pharmacist says no – just go to the next pharmacy. A general guideline is that for every such pharmacist that refuses to fill a non-authorized prescription, there are a dozen who will give you at least a small amount of whatever medication you need.
One pharmacy that is particularly helpful is the conveniently located Lite Kem Pharmacy at 24 Darling Street in the CBD. It’s also open until 23:00 in the evening, the latest of all pharmacies in Cape Town. If you need a prescription later than this, your best bet is to visit a hospital. You can contact Lite Kem on 021 461 8040.
Alternatively, the two biggest pharmaceutical chains in Cape Town are listed below:
Clicks Pharmacies, housed within most of this retail giant’s department stores, are the largest drug store chain in the country, with over 170 branches.
Call the customer care line on 0860 254 257 or use the store locator at http://www.clicks.co.za/clicks/StoreLocator.aspx to find your nearest branch.
Note that hours vary with the area or mall in which the stores are located.
These store are more like medical supermarkets than pharmacies. They usually stock the most complete range of international supplement brands you’re likely to find, along with health foods, training equipment and various other products. Dis-Chem prices are competitive with other major chains, and the company operates a loyalty program offering benefits to returning customers.
There are three large branches of Dis-Chem in Cape Town. These stores also deliver prescriptions to a wide range of surrounding areas. Call the ‘Dispensary Direct’ line to order.
Dis-Chem Canal Walk
Call 021 551 5551
Dispensary Direct: 021 552 0161
Open Hours: 09:00-21:00, Monday to Sunday
Call 021 673 1480
Dispensary Direct: 021 673 1490
Open Hours: 09:00- 8:00, Monday to Thursday, 09:00-19:00 on Fridays, 08:30-17:30 on Saturdays and 09:00-16:00 on Sundays and Public Holidays.
Dispensary Delivery Areas:
- Cape Town
- Hout Bay
Willowbridge Shopping Centre
Carl Cronje drive
Call 021 917 7500
Dispensary Direct: 021 917 7510
Open Hours: 09:00-19:00, Monday to Friday, 09:00-17:00 on Saturdays and Sundays
Dispensary Delivery Areas:
- Durbanville and surrounds
- Bellville and surrounds
- Oak Glen
- Oude Westhof
- Sonstraal hoogte
- De Kuilen