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Medical Services

Medical service system in Korea

Korean hospitals, equipped with advanced medical services, are easily accessible.
Hospitals are divided into primary, secondary and tertiary care practice depending on the number of beds and medical departments.
Clinics, the primary care practice , can be found across the country. More hospitals are offering medical interpretation services to foreign patients.

외국어 가능 약국
Primary care practice
  • Comprehensive diagnosis based on early symptoms
  • Clinics, health centers
Secondary care practice
  • Hospitals that run four or more specialty departments
  • Hospitals that treat both in- and out-patients, equipped with 30 to 500 beds
Tertiary care practice
  • Hospitals that have specialists for all departments
  • General or university hospitals equipped with 500 or more beds

※ You need a doctor's recommendation from the primary and secondary care practice to receive medical treatment from the tertiary care practice.
You also have to make reservations to see a doctor at the tertiary care practice.

※ The doctor’s consultation fee will increase if you come directly to the tertiary care practice.


You can buy digestives, cold medicine or vitamins at a pharmacy without a doctor's prescription. However, you need a doctor's prescription to buy antibiotics, hormone-based drugs and other prescription medicines. When you hand over the doctor's prescription, the pharmacist will put one dose into a plastic bag. You should understand how to take the medicine as such plastic bags do not show instructions in most cases. If the pharmacist speaks English, it is advisable to have him/her jot down brief instructions.

If you are allergic to any medicine or ingredient, you must tell the doctor in advance. New prescription is needed to purchase additional medicine.

You can buy headache pills, digestives and painkillers at convenient stores.

※ Korean pharmacies only sell drugs and drug stores including Olive Young and Watsons are health and
beauty stores that sell health and beauty related goods.

Emergency Services

Seoul Health Call Center

The Seoul Health Call Center (119) provides a one-stop medical service from medical and health related consultations to ambulance service via a phone call. Medical interpretation services are provided in English, Chinese, Japanese, Mongol and Vietnamese. ”Call 119 for your health problems.”

☎ 119→Request for health-related consultation

Useful Information

Free hospital accompanying service (English, Japanese)

KOTRA Investment Consulting Center provides a service where its staff members directly accompany foreign investors and their families when visiting a doctor. Free interpretation is available in English and Japanese. Please call a week in advance to receive the service.

Executive consultant (English) ☎ 02-3497-1056

Executive consultant (Japanese) ☎ 02-3497-1055

Search pharmacies & hospitals opening on weekends
Search foreign language-supported pharmacies
Lena Kim Executive Consultant