Wednesday, March 4, 2009

prescription drugs

We ended up at the doctor today to get some antibiotics for M. The flu the kids had a couple of weeks ago went away and then M got sick again with a vengeance yesterday. I'm not the type of mom who calls the doctor a lot, but sometimes you just know that antibiotics are all that will help. After our visit, I was thinking about public healthcare and drug regulations ... for instance, I went in to the doctor today specifically to get antibiotics. In some countries, like Mexico for one, I could have just gone to the pharmacy and picked them up. No doctor visit, lower costs for everyone, pharmacists still give it to you so you're still going to be informed. Why not? Here it's the opposite of that -- drugs seem less likely to be offered over the counter than in the US. I asked for some antibiotic cream one time. So sorry, you have to see a doctor. Lots of things have gone OTC in the US and are prescription-only here. And then there's the fact that even non-prescription items must be requested at pharmacies. So you have an embarrassing problem? Can't slip the Preparation H under your other items at check out, nope, you have to ask for it. And if you're a foreigner, that might involve even more embarrassing sign language. (Actually, not, because pharmacists like other college educated folk here speak English and often something else as well.) Yeah, the whole counter-service thing is cute and quaint, but sometimes less convenient. Anyway, contrary to what it may seem, it doesn't bother me unduly, but I do wonder about the cost-effectiveness of the public healthcare system. When I'm sick, Czechs often ask if I've been to the doctor yet. I'm always a bit surprised -- why would I go to the doctor when I've just got a cold? But if the doctor is free, or practically so, why not? Well, even if it was free, I still wouldn't go. I'd rather sit on my favorite chair and blog about nothing.

1 comment:

Susan said...

You can get all kinds of meds including antibiotics from a pharmacist in France. But in Austria I had to ask a pharmacist for aspirin. In any case, it's always bad being sick in a foreign language.