As in the rest of Europe, pharmacies in Malta are generally marked by a green pharmacy cross. There are over 200 pharmacies/chemists/dispensaries in Malta.
Pharmacies have limited hours, and are typically open 800hrs/8:00am to 1300hrs/1:30pm and 1530hrs/3:30pm to 1930hrs/7:30pm. Opening hours vary from pharmacy to pharmacy, therefore it is recommended to check with your local pharmacy for exact opening hours.
In Malta most shops are closed on Sundays, however, select pharmacies operate on Sundays from 830hrs/8:30am to 1200hrs/12:00pm on a rotating roster. This roster varies month to month and can be accessed on the Ministry of Health’s web site here. A list of pharmacies open on Sunday is also published in local newspapers.
The Miller pharmacy at the Malta International Airport is always open Monday to Sunday, from 730hrs/7:30am to 2200hrs/10:00pm.
There are few pharmacy chains in Malta. Most pharmacies are owner operated.
You can have prescriptions filled and purchase over the counter medications and vitamins at pharmacies in Malta.
You can also purchase various toiletry products, such as shampoos, lotions, sunscreens/creams, and hair accessories, perfumery, and select cosmetic products at pharmacies. Disposable contact lenses and contraception are also available to purchase. Flu shots are administered at pharmacies for <€20 per jab.
Unlike pharmacies in North America, vast selections of food/drink, household goods, and cosmetics are not available to purchase at pharmacies. These products are readily available to purchase at most supermarkets.
Pharmacists in Malta can recommend remedies for common complaints, and advise you when to see a physician.
Pharmacies provide office space to physicians, who attend pharmacies during set hours each week. There is no need to register with a receptionist; patients are seen on a first come first serve basis. You can often see a doctor and have a prescription filled at the same pharmacy in less than an hour, for less than €20.
If you are seeing a physician at a pharmacy, remember to bring your health records with you. In Malta, patients are responsible for the storage and transport of their own health records and test results.
Over-the-counter medication goes by both generic and brand names in Malta, which may be different from those in your home country. To obtain the correct medication, describe your symptoms to your pharmacist.
Prescription medication in Malta is fairly inexpensive compared to North America.
Drugs in Malta are monitored by the European Medicines Authority (EMEA) and the Malta Medicines Authority. A complete, searchable database of authorized medicinal products on the Maltese market, maintained by the MMA, can be found here.
The prescription drugs you take in your home country may not be available in Malta, or may only be available in generic form. To verify the availability of drugs, or to seek permission for importing drugs, contact the Malta Medicines Authority.
To dispose of sharps in Malta, including medical syringes, take your sharps/sharp edges container to one of Wasteserv’s five Civic Amenity Sites in Maghtab, Mriehel, Hal Far, Luqa, or Xewkija. Wasteserv is responsible for waste management in Malta.
By Jess Gerrow, who traded city life in Canada for island life in the Mediterranean two years ago. She is a postgraduate marketing student, blogger, and freelance writer.