Health For Members

More than medication: Eight things you can get at a Swiss pharmacy

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
More than medication: Eight things you can get at a Swiss pharmacy
Swiss pharmacies are multi-functional. Photo by Tbel Abuseridze on Unsplash

The primary role of pharmacies is, of course, to dispense meds. But in Switzerland, they perform many other tasks as well.


The 1,800 Apotheken, pharmacies, and farmacie spread across the country handle, on average, 30,000 customers each day, according to the umbrella organisation, PharmaSuisse.

The vast majority of these people need their prescriptions filled or are buying over-the-counter drugs to treat various ailments.

But Swiss pharmacists are highly trained professionals who are able to dispense not only medications, but other medical services as well.

Among them are:

Health-related advice

It goes without saying that a pharmacist can’t override your doctor’s directives.

However, if your health is not at stake, he or she can recommend non-prescription treatment for non-serious conditions like a cold, back pain, and the like.

By the same token, if, in their professional opinion, your symptoms seem to suggest a deeper problem, they will recognise it and urge you to see your doctor.



Most pharmacies are able to take your blood pressure on their premises, in case you don’t have a machine of your own.

They can also do a variety of other tests — for instance, to measure your blood sugar level if you are (or suspect you might be) diabetic, or to assess if you have allergies to certain substances.


You can get vaccinated against the flu in many pharmacies in Switzerland.

You can find a pharmacy in your area that offers some (or all) of these services, here

Homeopathic products

If you prefer alternative treatments over conventional ones, you will find an array of those — along with advice on how and when to use them — at your local pharmacy.

Recycling points

As items such as expired medicines, used syringes, and thermometers, should not be tossed away with your 'regular' household waste, they can be brought to your local pharmacy for safe disposal.


From lipstick and toothpaste to weed killer

While medications are the pharmacies’ mainstay, many serve a multitude of non-medical purposes as well.

In this sense, they could be compared to general stores of yore, which used to sell a variety of goods of all kinds.

Most pharmacies sell cosmetics of all kinds, such as lipsticks, nail polish, and face creams.

You can also buy toothpaste and soap there, along with other hygiene products.


Have weeds to get rid of or a sink to unclog?

In many pharmacies, you can find products to solve these pesky household problems.

Depending on what you buy, you may have to leave your name and address on file, as some of these products are highly toxic and require special caution.

And last but not least...

Pharmacies provide a valuable public service

Under a new project, staff members in some pharmacies have been trained to receive and counsel victims of domestic violence.

They are designated as 'safe' spaces for these people to come to and find protection in.


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