Medication, Prescriptions and Healthcare in China A HELPUL GUIDE BY PIONEERBEYOND

Medication, Prescriptions and Healthcare in China

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A Teacher’s Guide to Healthcare in China

A basic guide to the healthcare system in China, Medication, Prescriptions and useful information. If you are travelling to teach English in China, it would be a good idea to acquaint yourself with the health care system in China. You should to fill a health declaration card before you enter China. The cards are distributed by the cabin crew during your flight to China. Vaccinations are not required for travel in China. Chinese government does not offer free and universal healthcare. Primary medical attention and public hospitals are run by the government with a bit of funding. Most public hospitals finance themselves and depend heavily on the sale of drugs to do this.


According to statistics, China had 29140 health care facilities in 2016. The number of hospitals and clinics has been increasing. China is still struggling to offer proper health care to its large population. This also has a compromising effect on the quality of health services in Chinese hospitals.

The challenges of an ageing population, as well as pollution, face the health sector in China. Major hospitals in China specialise in different areas. Most of them have modern equipment and facilities. Http:// offers a list of major hospitals in China. You can visit the closest hospital depending on the area you will be teaching in China.

Foreign-run facilities and international hospitals offer the best medical care in China. Most of these hospitals are located in major cities. They charge high prices for consultation, treatment and diagnosis. Public city level hospitals, and district level clinics offer good services too. There are also private hospitals and clinics, both national and international. Some do not charge for a consultation, but treatment and purchase of drugs is very expensive.


China has managed to expand insurance coverage of health rapidly. If you teach in China, your school will provide a health cover during the period of your contract. In other cases, your employer will provide an allowance where you will take the cover yourself. You need to identify the type of insurance policy you need. In China, you pay medical bills upfront and you may not be able to see a doctor if you do not have money. In that case, an insurance policy is the best to prevent such awful experiences.

Types of Insurance

There are three types of health insurance policies in China. The first type is a university health insurance policy. It is given to foreigners who work or study in Chinese universities. The second type is the Chinese health insurance policy that is designed for the locals. It is cheap and covers hospital costs. Thirdly, there is the international health insurance policy used by foreigners. It is the most expensive but can access most hospitals.

Some of the companies you would use for your health cover in China are China Life Insurance Co., Ltd., Cigna Global Insurance and Premier Health. Others are International Medical Group, Allianz and BUPA International Health Plan.


It may take time for you to familiarise with the area you are posted to teach English in China. Thus, it is advisable to carry enough stock of your medication. Carry a letter from your doctor indicating your dosage and medication. Most drug companies use English for their generic names. The directions and precautions are in Chinese. Most importantly, have the generic names of your drugs written in English because. Also, ensure you pack enough over the counter drugs such as aspirin, laxatives and painkillers.

Note: Most over the counter drugs are what you are used to at home.

Pharmacies and Drugstores

The growth of pharmacies and drugstores has increased over the last few years. This is due to the high prices of drugs in Chinese hospitals. You will find many pharmacies scattered all over the city you teach in China. All pharmacies have a green cross for identification. They pharmacies stock over the counter drugs, generic drugs, natural and herbal supplements. The staff in Chinese pharmacies communicate in Mandarin. Carry a medicine packaging, a photo of it or have a translator with you when purchasing your medicine.


Visit the pharmacy and buy your medication if you have a prescription. This is a paper where your medication is written down by a doctor. If you have a prescription from your home country, take it to a Chinese doctor. He or she will give you a Chinese prescription if the drugs are not available in China. Ensure that your prescription has a generic name of your drugs on it. China keeps tightening her regulations on prescribed drugs to avoid abuse of prescription drugs. However, in some cases, pharmacies sell prescription drugs without a prescription.


Medical attention for an emergency is available throughout China and in addition, emergency services in China are provided by state emergency medical services. The state offers well-equipped emergency ambulances with doctors and nurses at dispatch. Major hospitals have wards reserved for foreigners in case of emergency. Chinese doctors are well trained, having studied and trained in foreign medical schools. They are judicious and sophisticated in their diagnosis and handle emergency cases well.

If you require further information in regards to travelling with medicines: Carrying medication abroad and counterfeit medication, click here!

This guide provides general information. If you suffer from a chronic illness or life-threatening condition, please seek help and assistance from your doctor or a medical professional pre-departure.

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