Emergency treatment is available to all travellers through the Italian healthcare system, as the law dictates that hospital emergency rooms (pronto soccorso) must treat emergency cases for free. Before travelling to Italy, EU citizens should obtain the free-of-charge EHIC (European Health Insurance Card). This document is equivalent to Lombardy's Carta Regionale dei Servizi, which permits you to consult a national health service doctor without the bill. Drugs prescribed by this professional can be bought by pharmacists at prices set by the health ministry. Tests or specialized outpatient treatment have fixed rates. Non-EU visitors will be charged a small fee at the doctor's discretion.
Pharmacists are the Italian's go-to source for health information; not only do they give informal medical advice for common ailments, but they can also recommend local doctors and provide you with addresses and info for laboratories to have tests done. The pharmacies, marked by a green cross, also sell homeopathic medicines, and over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen or aspirin are much more expensive in Italy than in the US or UK. It is useful to know the active ingredient or generic name for medications you may need, as they are likely marketed domestically under different names. Normal opening hours are 08:30 - 12:30 and 15:30 - 19:30 Monday through Saturday. Outside of regular hours, a duty rotation operates with 24-hour service, or you can check www.turnifarmacie.it. Next to the door of all pharmacies you will find a glass-enclosed list of open pharmacies nearby, and you can also call 800 80 11 85 to locate the nearest open pharmacy.