In 2012, Korean National Assembly passed the bill that allows local pharmacies and even convenient stores to sell various OTC (Over-the-counter) medicines. So if you get a headache, stomachache, or cramps, don’t hesitate to run into local pharmacies or convenient stores (but please note that convenient stores have fewer medicines than pharmacies do).
Types and popular OTC drugs in Korea
- Painkillers : 펜잘, 게보린. Applicable for headache, toothache, arthralgia, stomachache, cramps, and etc. Basically, the most famous painkillers in Korea.
- Digestive medicine : 훼스탈. If you get an indigestion such as diarrhea or vomit, please tell your pharmacist “훼스탈 (pronounced as ‘festal’?)”
- Pain relief patch : I personally have bought this many times for my parents (I know..pretty sad…). They often ask me to get pain relief patches every time they get cramps on their shoulders and backs. The all-time-number #1 pain relief patch in Korea is “케토톱, Ketotop” This patches have been loved for a long time and no one can think of any better pain relief patch than Ketotop is (Of course, this is my personal opinion. Don’t get me wrong).
- Antibiotic cream : You can use it to prevent any infections when you get a paper cut or any scars. The most popular one in the States is Neosporin; “Fucidin”, and “Madecassol” creams are the ones that are sold under monopoly in Korea.