Healthcare in Moscow

Healthcare in Moscow

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Healthcare in Moscow is probably different from what you are used to. Here is some essential information on the Russian healthcare system.

Healthcare in Moscow is organised by the Moscow Health Care Department. Medical services are provided by a large number of clinics, hospitals, medical institutions and pharmacies. The healthcare sector employs over two million people in Moscow.

Health insurance in Russia

It is advisable for foreigners to take out comprehensive health insurance when travelling to Russia. There are international medical centres in Moscow where English is spoken, but generally, these clinics are quite expensive.

Foreign citizens working in Russia can get insurance via their employer or organise it themselves. If their employers pay for the compulsory medical insurance (CMI) for them, the employees have a right to free medical assistance from the public clinics in Moscow.

Most foreign health care insurance providers have contact with a limited number of medical clinics in Mosow. This could mean that because of your insurance policy, you are forced to use a certain health care provider in Moscow.

Unless your insurance company has a direct billing agreement with the medical clinic you intend to use, you will have to advance the payment and then claim reimbursement from the insurance company later. Some providers require pre-authorization, meaning that you must contact the insurance company before using medical services in Moscow.

Unemployed foreign citizens with a residence permit are also entitled to a CMI policy. They can apply for it via any medical insurance company which subscribed to the CMI system.

Pharmacies and medical kiosks

Russian pharmacies, apteka, are marked with large green crosses and you can find one almost anywhere in Moscow. The medications might be under different brands names than the ones you recognise from back home.

Many medications which need prescriptions in Western countries can often be bought without one in Moscow. Restricted medications such as anti-depressants and pain killers require a local prescription, which you can get from a clinic or hospital.

If you need to bring medication along, be sure to have documents with you proving that it is for your personal use only.

Also, it would be useful to check prior to departure if the same medication is sold in Russia. Remember that it could also be sold under a different name or brand. Equivalent medications are usually available if a specific one cannot be found.

Both pharmacies and medical kiosks are located at the metro stations, shopping centres and other public places. Medical kiosks only sell medications which do not require a prescription.

Medications for homeopathic treatment can be found in specialised homeopathic pharmacies. There are also specialised optic and veterinary pharmacies.

Normally pharmacies have the same opening hours as other shops, but there are some that are open 24 hours a day.

Allergies/seasonal issues

During spring and summer, Moscow suffers from an excess of poplar tree seeds in the air, bringing discomfort to people with allergies. If you are sensitive and suffer from hay fever, you should bring medication for it.

During the winter, days are very short and daylight is scarce. The weather changes can also be extreme, so taking some extra vitamins during the winter season might be wise.

Vaccinations in Russia
You should be vaccinated for diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella, polio and tetanus before going to Russia. Vaccinations against hepatitis A, typhoid and immunoglobulin are also recommended. If you are planning on visiting Siberia, you should check the precautions for tick-borne encephalitis and Lyme disease.

Skin Care
Expats offen have difficulty in adjusting to the dry air conditions. Women complain of dry skin and broken fingernails. You may need to use extra face cream. It can help to place pans of water around your apartment.

Eye Care
Dry, cold and polluted air is hard on eyes, especially if you wear contact lenses. Contact lens wearers are advised to take a rest from wearing contact lenses from time to time.

It is advisable to have spare lenses or glasses with you. You can purchase all types and brands of contact lenses and glasses at any larger optician's shop. Most of them have qualified opticians on staff and sophisticated equipment, so they can carry out a complete eye exam before fitting you with contact lenses or glasses.  Fees for eye exams are moderate.

Psychological care
Living in a foreign country is always challenging and stressful. Everyone - from the working partner to the spouse and children - can be affected. Problems frequently experienced by expatriates on international assignments include stress, anxiety and loneliness.

A problem specific to northern countries, such as Russia, is SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). If you find yourself in any situation you feel you cannot cope with on your own, please call someone. This someone can be a friend, a member of your women's club, a nurse or a doctor at your medical centre, or fellow expats in your area. To read more about culture shock, check out Coping with culture shock, Prepare for a Moscow culture shock and Manage culture shock in three easy steps.

Emergency numbers

Here are some useful numbers in case of emergency:


  • Medical emergency number: 03
  • Moscow emergency medical care: 628-0003, 632-9670
  • Accident registration office: 688-2252 
  • Moscow rescue service: 937-9911 (free), or 0911 from mobile phones (fee-paying) 
  • Emergency ophthalmic assistance: 699-6128, 699-8400
  • Emergency dental care: 952-7564


International medical centres

The American Clinic
Address: ul. 2nd Yamskaya d.11/13
Tel: (495) 781 5576

American Medical Centers
Telephone consultations are available in Russian and English. It offers both visits with family doctors within its facility, and house calls resticted hours. Diagnostic testing is also available onsite.
Address: 26, build. 6, Prospekt Mira (entrance from Grokholsky Pereulok)
Tel: (495) 933 7700

European Medical Centre
The medical staff is comprised of American, French, and Russian doctors, most of whom have studied medicine at Western universities. Interpreters are provided when consulting with doctors who do not speak English.
Address: Spiridonievsky per. 5 (near the Patriarshy Ponds in downtown Moscow)
Metro Pushkinskaya, Tverskaya, Mayakovskaya
Tel: (495) 933 6655 multi-channel, (495) 933 6645 emergency


Petya Vetseva / Expatica
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