Worldwide pharmacy for medications

Uruguayan expats, I am from the USA and looking into moving to Uruguay.  I am thinking of using an international worldwide pharmacy when I move to Uruguay.  Has anyone had any experience using a pharmacy that ships worldwide?  Is this permitted by customs?  If not, what is necessary to do so? How long does it take to get medication?  Do you have to pay duty taxes?  If so how much (i.e. 63%)?

Shirley posted this item recently on expat. "Barry, since you mentioned wanting to receive medications, it's worth noting that receiving any medications by mail (or UPS, FedEx, etc.) from outside the country requires the written approval of a Uruguayan physician.  Here, "medications" includes nutritional supplements (even such substances as Vitamin C, for example).  I have not gone through this process myself, but I am told that such approval is harder to obtain if the drug/supplement can be purchased within Uruguay (even if only at a much higher price)."

I bought some Amoxycillin this week for the equivalent of US$30. As a Brit, I have had little knowledge of the cost of prescription drugs but found a website which suggests that price is very close to US prices. If you do get the necessary permit to import then you will pay duty on the product and the cost of delivery. If you come here, then when you are settled in, you can join a 'mutualista' which is membership of a hospital group and you should be able to buy your meds at a preferential rate.

@ColoniaMan Thank you so much for your response.  I would love to obtain Mutualista healthcare insurance and obtain medication in Uruguay.  However, to my knowledge the medication in question cannot be purchased in Uruguay.  I have not gone through the process of obtaining resident permit yet because healthcare could potentially be a problem which we are researching at this point in time.  I live in the USA and do not want to get rid of all my belonging and sell my house if I cannot obtain affordable healthcare.  I am 74 (to old for mutualista) and my son has a preexisting condition (which may not be approved by mutualista).  So far the healthcare quotes have been $900 to $1400 USD a month for worldwide healthcare which I cannot afford, so I am still researching.  Is there a more affordable healthcare in Uruguay that would accept my age and preexisting conditon (mutualista will not)?  My son needs this mediation and I do not know what the wait time or what cost would be to see a doctor to obtain approval for his medication. 

As a casual walk-in patient you should expect to pay $3.000 (US$75) for a general practitioner and $.4.000 (US$100) for a specialist. You would have to ask a pharmacy about specialist medications.

Thank you for your reply that was very helpful.  I am thinking wait time would not be more than a couple of weeks.

As I remember, seeing the general practitioner was within days, possibly later the same day or next day. The specialist took about a week. As for specialist med, the pharmacist apologized that they couldn't get them until the next day.

I have to get this medicine (which is not in Uruguay) every 3 months.  Would I need to get sign off from Uruguay doctor every 3 months or is a one time sign off sufficient?  Additionally, would I need to pay 63% duty tax on the medication?

If you go to the Correo Uruguay website scroll down to the bottom and look for tramites (processes) click on the line starting Declaracion de compras... You can register here to get up to 3  low value personal imports per year.

I would think that a one off approval should suffice. If you let me know what the name of the medication, (trade name and generic) I will see if a pharmacist can obtain it on special order.

@ColoniaMan  Thank you this information is very helpful.   My son tried to enter the website mentioned in your response (, however, it requires registering and as part of the process and it is asking for a Uruguayan ID which we don't have.  The medication in question is Navane, the generic name is Thiothixene. Thank you so much for helping us glean this information.

I have tried two pharmacies, a big chain and a small private business. Neither were able to help. I will look in at the hospital in the next few days.

Thank you so much for checking.  Are we able to do a walk in appointment if we are not insured with that hospital?  If not, is ASSE a viable option?  Seems my age and my son's preexisting condition may eliminate us from obtaining affordable healthcare coverage.

Regarding ASSE, although it is sometimes thought of as the "free" system for poor people, anyone can join the plan by paying a monthly fee.  As of about 5 months ago, the monthly fee was 2070 pesos per person, regardless of age or pre-existing conditions.  (This was for adults; I'm not sure if it also applies to children or whether they are handled differently.)

The government website compares the various public and private providers of medical coverage, giving facts and figures for each one.  I was surprised to learn that about 1.4 million people are covered under ASSE, which is about 40% of the country's population. 

Thank you so much for your reply.  That was so helpful!