Prescription medication, availability, and prices in Vietnam

Dear expats and wannabe expats like me  -   I'm going to Vietnam in October (it will be my 2nd trip), and this time I'll be staying around 9 months or so - while my fiancée and I work on getting her visa for the US. My US insurance will only grant me a 60 day supply on my question is, can anyone tell me if the following prescription meds are available in HCMC, and if you know prices that would really help here goes:

Hydrocodone (Vicodin)

Lorazepam  (Ativan)




Omeprazole (Tagamet)




Sildenafil (Viagra)

Also, if you could recommend a good pharmacy for an English speaking expat, that would be great.....Thank you!!

A 60 day supply will give you the time needed to suss out the 'corner store'
pharmacies.  They are everywhere, so pick according to your gut feeling.
They will bend over backwards to supply, (especially) when you are known
to be a regular customer.   This fixes availability and price.

    The usual prerequisites apply; attitude and (genuine) smile.   Start small
(aspirin, bandages, cough syrup) before asking about the bigger stuff.
  Go alone at first.  There is no (real) language barrier in medicine, and
when you are seen to be becoming part of the local community..? 
Friendly assistance is more important than money here.    No one where I go
speaks a word of English, but by my writing it out or showing old packets,
they show me what is available, generics, and alternates.   Genuine interest.

   Works for me.    The Viet. mindset is co-operation, not competition, which you
will no doubt find in your own ways and dealings.   You are fortunate in having
feedback from your fiancee, who might also know where best to go.

Hospital pharmacies can be Ok, but by being part of the meat factory, they are
unreliable re supply, staff turnover, and even prices.   (my personal experience)

Welcome to the better place to be.   You'll be back.

I've been trying to find Hydrocodone (Vicodin), (Bad Back) but no one seems to know even the generic name. Even when I bring my girl to the pharmacy, they (seem to) don't know what it is (Hydrocodone).


Zepo  -  there's an OTC medicine available in pharmacies,  "Tatenol", that includes enough codeine to make it more than worth it.

Went to 8 pharmacies. None of them had it.

Tatanol Codein

Even had a picture of the box to show....blank stares.


My impression is that while antibiotics and things like statins, BP and even ED medications are essentially unregulated, you will need a prescription for anything that has an opioid or synthetic opioid. 

One other item that seems totally unavailable is sudephedrine which is still available in the US without prescription but from behind the counter as Sudafed.  This is because it is the base material for manufacturing crystal meth.  My ENT specialist knew exactly what it was and wrote me a prescription but I never could find it.

Hmmmmm......maybe Tatenol is only available in the South (which makes no sense, but.....)  I had no problem in finding it at pharmacies all over HCMC...

"Tatenol" is just 500mg acetaminophen. This I could find.

"Tatenol Codein" is 500mg acetaminophen + 30mg hydrocodone. This I cannot find.


Was the box blue and white?

Also...the pharmacy I got them from was located on Bui Thi Xuan St.,  a couple blocks up (southeast) from the Tuong Vy hotel, katty-korner from a gas station.  I'm pretty sure the cross street is Ton That Tung. It's a tiny place, and easy to miss. Let me know if you find it......

If you are looking to save money on long term meds like BP medications and statins you might try the pharmacy called Hiệu Thuốc Trung Tam (Center Pharmacy) at 298 Hai Ba Trung St.  It is on the right side exactly at the second bus stop after you cross Vo Thi Sau going out of town.  It is a little past the huge pink Catholic church on the left side. It is a wholesale pharmacy as indicated by the words "Ban Si Duoc Pham" on the sign but they will serve walk in customers.  I don't know if they have exact minimums but they may expect at least 90 day orders.  You will notice that most of the other customers are delivery drivers for small pharmacies.  They are also open only daytime unlike the neighborhood places.  English could be a problem as they might want you to place your order and pick up later so you may need a Vietnamese helper at least the first time.  I used to make a paper with generic name, mg per pill, and number of pills wanted, which my wife took in and just gave them.  I never went in but that was because it was cramped standing room only and there is often no space to park in front so I sat on the bike and tried to avoid the busses.  The savings will be significant if you can manage it and if they don't have it most likely nobody else will.

Marko27 :

Also...the pharmacy I got them from was located on Bui Thi Xuan St.,  a couple blocks up (southeast) from the Tuong Vy hotel, katty-korner from a gas station.  I'm pretty sure the cross street is Ton That Tung. It's a tiny place, and easy to miss. Let me know if you find it......

I'm in Hanoi...I think you are talking about HCMC


The OP specified HCMC.


The OP specified HCMC.

Yep, missed bad.

I'll keep trying local...


New topic

Questions and answers about the health system

Ask your question
Best Hospital for Expats in HCMC
By mikeymac
By Rodgersgathii
Dentist in Nha Trang
By Edziu
Dental cleaning in Da Nang
By Da_nang
Meds in HCMC
By Kooler42

Expatriate health insurance in Vietnam

Free advice and quotation service to choose an expat health insurance in Vietnam

Moving to Vietnam

Find tips from professionals about moving to Vietnam

Travel insurance in Vietnam

Enjoy a stress-free travel across Vietnam

Flights to Vietnam

Find the best prices for your flight tickets to Vietnam