An overview of the health system Italy is considered the world’s 3rd largest economy. Its highly diversified economy relies on fashion, motor vehicles, tourism, chemicals, engineering, and food as the major earners. The European Union (EU) nation also offers quality healthcare service which the World Health Organization (WHO) rated among the top 10 in the global ranking. By contrast, the United States holds 37th place. However, emergency supplies and a disaster response mechanism in both countries differ in effectiveness. For example, public hospitals in Italy are always poorly funded and overcrowded. Further, online sale of medications is still not a common practice despite the huge benefits.

The wealthy class can afford health services from “Assicurazione Sulla Salute,” a private medical outfit which renders exclusive care for people with private medical insurance. In smaller towns, people depend on the public health system because it is cheaper. Nonetheless, private doctors often reside in bigger cities where ease of doing business is higher and residents are capable of paying for private medical services. For instance, best emergency care services are found in Milan (North) and Rome (central). Also, lots of English- speaking health experts stay in major cities where they are most likely to make higher profits.

Health Insurance

In Italy, the national health plan is managed by Servisio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN), which delivers free consultations and health benefits to legal citizens and residents as well as free or low-cost medical supplies to hospitals. Quality healthcare is prioritized in the health plan and it is considered a right to all legal residents.

Cost of healthcare

Though the health plan in Italy is independently implemented in different ways across the regions, having private medical insurance determines the cost of healthcare for citizens and foreigners. On average, an individual spends approximately $230 per year as health insurance bills. Hospital visits, consultations and lab work are free, especially in urgent cases. A small charge borne by the patient may be applicable in non- urgent situations.

Pharmacies and Sale of Medications Online

People in Italy source their over-the-counter medicines in pharmacies because independent drugstores are not allowed and online pharmacy business is relatively unknown. Medications are not unavailable in grocery stores. To access generic drugs, for example like Cialis 5mg, Viagra or Levitra, you must visit a pharmacy for discussions with professionals who are generally medical consultants. Most pharmacists are conversant with the English language and the doctor- patient process is the same as in the US.

Legal Pre-condition for Launching a Drug Prescription Business

The Italian Medical Agency (also known as “Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco”) has the sole rights to distribute medical and drug supplies. According to the Community code [2001/83/EC], it provides medicinal products consumed by humans. These rights are stipulated in the Legislative Decree No. 219 Article 8 of 2006.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) regulates delivery of healthcare services through decentralized a procedure.

General requirements for the legal procedures required in healthcare service delivery are found in Legislative Decree No. 219 Article 41 and 49 of 2006 as well as in Article 28 which lists codes for human medicines directive.

Imported Drugs

Medications imported into Italy must undergo checks and licensing by the Italian Medicine Agency as stipulated by nation’s Ministerial Decree of 29 August 1997.

By law, medical practitioners are allowed to import unauthorized drugs and use the same outside a clinical trial. However, this exception is only permitted in medical conditions that have no proven therapeutic treatment such as:

  • Ailments that pose a threat to the patient’s life
  • Serious ailments
  • Rare sicknesses.

According to Italian law, such requests for untested drugs are only allowed if:

  • The medication will be included in phase 3 of clinical trials or the patient is in life-threatening condition and the medicine has been listed in phase 2 of the clinical trials.
  • An urgent application for approval of the required drug has been sent to the ethics committee that will take responsibility for the decision.
  • The Italian Medicine Agency has been notified.

How to get your medications online

Any medicine prescribed by a qualified doctor should be sourced in reputable pharmacies. Licensed chemists who operate private-owned dispensary facilities provide emergency drugs and medicines in Italy. Some drugs can be purchased without prescription but the government controls prices based on brand.

Residents with social security pay a proportion of the medication costs for prescription medicines such as hormone treatment drugs, antacids, antibiotics, etc.

However, buying medications online is the best alternative because they are cheaper, VAT-free and with Money Back Guarantee. For a better shopping experience, buyers should beware of fake online pharmacies

Author's Bio: 

Kathy Mitchell is a writer and avid researcher on the subject of beauty, nutrition and general wellness. She likes to go out with her friends, travel, swim and practice yoga.