Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

IKA covers prescription medicine


Salaried workers and pensioners in Greece who have IKA are entitled to receive pharmaceuticals at no cost from the state system EOPYY, if a doctor has prescribed them. In some cases, natural remedies, vitamins and other nutritional supplements may be covered.

*Article last updated July 1, 2013

What to do

1. Call and make an appointment with an IKA/EOPYY doctor

2. Make certain your IKA health book (Βιβλιάριο Υγείας/Bibliario Ygeias) accurately reflects the amount of ensima you earned and bring the book to the appointment as proof you have coverage

3. Discuss your symptoms and needs

4. Get a written prescription, signed and stamped by the doctor*

5. Take identification (Greek ID/tautotita or passport fom any country), the prescription and your IKA health book (Βιβλιάριο Υγείας/Bibliario Ygeias) to a pharmacy and present them. Your AMKA should be written inside your health book, or you should be carrying an AMKA card.

6. The pharmacist takes your paper, dispenses and explains your prescription, perhaps has you sign a log. You pay nothing.

*Note: As of June 29, 2010, only prescription drugs approved by OEF are covered by IKA. Many patients must now pay out of pocket for necessary medicine.

Why many people don’t bother

– Many people are uninformed about who to call and what to do

– Adept, experienced pharmacists can often diagnose symptoms and make informed recommendations

– Medication is often inexpensive and easily obtained over-the-counter without a prescription

– Too much trouble: By the time an appointment is set, many symptoms pass or get worse; some people are unable to transport themselves or take time off from work; sometimes it’s just laziness.

* It is imperative you consult experienced medical professionals in treating any illness. Until you are well informed and able to distinguish what pharmacists are reliable and highly experienced, it is recommended you see a doctor. Your health is precious and not worth endangering at all costs.

Starting 2010

A program issuing e-prescriptions in Greece began October 18, 2010; and a centralized database links IKA and all IKA pharmacies in Greece as of 2012. The new system provides the following conveniences:
— Electronic storage of scanned prescriptions, claims and statements
— Automated recognition and cross-checking of prescriptions, minimizing risk and issuing warnings
— Automated payments/reimbursements to pharmacies
— Accurate reporting of pharmaceutical use and expenditures to government institutions and NGOs
— Monitoring prescriptions by medical facility, municipality, region.

Tax on prescription medicine is now 6.5 percent. See “VAT in Greece” for more information.


If the pharmacy or hospital does not carry the medication you require, you or the pharmacist can call ‘1142’ to report it.

In the News

New prices on medicines and drugs” – Ta Nea (Sept 2009)
Ηλεκτρονικό σύστημα διαχείρισης συνταγών φαρμάκων από το ΙΚΑ” — Kathimerini (Oct 2009)
Έως και 27% οι μειώσεις τιμών στο νέο δελτίο φαρμάκων” — Eleftherotypia (April 2010)
Τέλος στην κάλυψη δαπανών φαρμάκων χωρίς ιατρική συνταγή” — Eleftherotypia (May 2010)
Οι ασθενείς πληρώνουν μόνοι τους τα φάρμακα λόγω περικοπών” — Eleftherotypia
«Φρένο» στις εξαγωγές φαρμάκων λόγω ελλείψεων” — SKAI

Related posts

IKA offices in Greece
IKA vs. IKEA, there is a difference
How to sign up with IKA

Photo from


  graffic wrote @ August 20th, 2007 at 22:37


In spain it works in that way. You go to the national health service (“Seguridad Social”). You usually call and you get an appointment for the next day or two days. You go there, the doctor checks you (I don’t know if check is the right word :P), and if you need any medication, he gives you a prescription (“receta”).

You go to a pharmacy and you give it to the pharmacist and he will give you the medicine the doctor wrote or an unbranded one that has the same components/ingredients.

You usually get the medication with lower cost or no cost at all.

Everybody in spain knows that, and some people abuse that.

  NelsieKolonaki wrote @ December 8th, 2007 at 02:13

This is all cool, but does anybody know *HOW TO* see an IKA doctor? I have an acute eye problem and have been trying for days to find a dr but in their always friendly way staff at hospitals just shout at me in Greek and refuse to help…

If anyone know anything, even if it is a private american hospital can you pls post something?

  Kat wrote @ December 8th, 2007 at 10:39

If you can’t get an immediate recommendation for a doctor from a friend, work colleague, professor or someone else you trust, you can get a directory of IKA doctors/hospitals: a) online if you read Greek or b) from an IKA office in person (someone might speak English). You can arrange something in advance directly with a doctor or call ‘184’ (Greek only) and make an appointment; you can also go to an ESY clinic for a small fee. If you go to the hospital or clinic to be seen on an emergency basis, take a number very early in the morning and wait. A list of state hospitals can be found online or in the Kathimerini (online) in English should you not be able to read Greek or you can call Tourist Police for free at ‘171.’ Have your IKA booklet and ID/passport, when you go for treatment.

There is no such thing as a private American hospital in Greece, however there are private Greek hospitals. A list in English can be found the same way described above. At these places, you can walk in, say that you’d like to be seen and someone will be assigned. You will be expected to pay out of your own pocket.

It goes without saying that state hospitals will usually not have staff that speak another language other than Greek at the first administrative level, though your doctor (once you make it there) will speak English. Private hospitals tend to have more languages available, but not always.

* I don’t post about everything on this site because I don’t want it to become a crutch. Also, some posts are now password protected because of ungratefulness or past abuses by readers and other sites.

  Abdul wrote @ September 5th, 2014 at 00:30

Check my tax statement found out I have to pay 1500 euros,I am not in Greece since 2008 I was told I have a hospital bill for abortion which is 700 euros and car fines I don’t understand.

Could someone be using my details for all these mess and How can I challenge this? for example how can someone accepted at hospital without showing my ID?

Hospital Bill was 2012 and I left since 2008..and how can I stop this Car bill if I don’t have any proof of ownership?

Kat Reply:

It’s possible this happened when someone made a typo in one system and it spread, or it could be fraud. There’s no way to know without an investigation, which only the police can conduct.

You can clear this up by contacting the hospital and tax office directly to understand what they need as proof. It’s obvious to you and me that it couldn’t have been you. But edo Ellada, and the burden falls on you to correct their mistakes.

  Linda wrote @ March 18th, 2015 at 13:52

I have heard that it is available to up date your IKA book on line now. Is this true? If so can anyone help me with any info.


Kat Reply:

Hi there. Yes, it’s true. Please see the IKA press release (in Greek) about renewing the bibliario online:

I haven’t had time to update all the article or write anything new.

Any first-hand experience you have would be welcome, as a way to give back to the website. All best, K

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