A Few Words About (Legal) Drugs


I knew the time was coming when I would finally have to figure out the Colombian pharmacy system.  Obviously, I was only able to bring a certain amount of my medications with me.

I knew I would be able to get prescription drugs in Colombia, here in Medellin, but I had no clue what the actual process would be like.  So, I talked to a few of my friends and got some great advice.  One thing I wasn’t expecting was that everyone told me to go to the pharmacy in the supermarkets.  I know there are a lot of different ones on the streets.  A few of the chains look pretty reputable to me, but everyone said to not take the chance.

*The following information is fairly personal, but I am happily sharing it for anyone that may find it useful…just a warning for those that don’t want to know about my personal life!*

I, personally, take a birth control pill and an anti-depressant.  It was pretty obvious that I wouldn’t need a prescription for the birth control, but no one knew for sure about the anti-depressant.  I am lucky to be on a pretty ‘old-school’ medication that is even cheap in the United States, so I was pretty sure they would have the medications I needed.

In the end, I grabbed a friend to translate (just in case) and headed to the nearby Consumo.  Since my prescriptions weren’t valid anyway, I just wrote down the information.  At the pharmacy, they didn’t have the exact brand of birth control (Cryselle) but they knew exactly what it was and found me something similar.  They did have the same anti-depressant (Trazadone).  There was never any mention of prescriptions or insurance.

Total costs:

Microgynon (birth control) 21 tablets: 8,374 COP

Trazadone (anti-depressant) 50 tablets: 23,792 COP

From my experiences with these medications the cost for the birth control was super cheap, and the cost for the Trazadone was very similar or more expensive depending on what store in the United States I bought it from.

Post by Holly. Currently living in Medellin, Holly is getting to know the Colombian culture through music, language, and base jumping!

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I love relaxing and enjoying the view of life. Whether the view is from the top of a BASE object, or from my balcony in Envigado, Colombia. I love life when it's up, and I'm trying harder to love life when it's down as well. My biggest loves in life are (in order!) Family, BASE, Music, Boys that play music, and Alcohol. I get along with everyone that doesn't take me too seriously, and with people that are ok with the fact that you should disregard almost anything I say when I'm drunk!



  1. I lived in Honduras for two years, and I loved self medicating. My birth control was made in Colombia and it was awesome-I didn’t have PMS the whole time I was on it

  2. Hi, Can anyone let me know if I can get Acidophillus? also, I take Synthroid, a hypothroid medication.

    Is Synthroid is a brand name? is it available in drug stores? Gloria

  3. Very helpful! So you don’t need anything special to get any type of anti-depressant? Here in Peru, for anti-depressants only they require a prescription form a Peruvian Psychiatrist and won’t accept foreign prescriptions. Just want to make sure i don’t run into the same problem in Colombia!

    • No, though I can only speak in broad terms, not specific drugs. I checked with a Colombian doctor friend of mine and she said that some pharmacies may ask for a prescription, but if you run into that you can simply go to a different one.

  4. I know this is an old post but I thought I’d chime in. I was shocked at all the medicines I could buy without a prescription in Colombia. In my experience, the only things that require a prescription are things that would be controlled substances in the USA (Ambien, for example). I think it is based on the propensity for abuse rather than the safety of the patient.