After my jungle adventure, my feet were in agony from the numerous mosquito bites that populated them. I sought relief in various ways and finally decided to get some anti-itch cream. Apparently you can’t get simple, over the counter, medications at grocery stores, convenience stores or mom-and-pop places in Peru. Instead, you must visit a pharmacy (botica). I found one in Iquitos and had to wait to speak with the attendant. I was told that they don’t have anti-itch cream. The only anti-itch medication available was in pill form. This struck me as odd, but I was suffering so I took the slip they gave me and headed for the other line. There, I got 3 or 4 tablets and instructions on how to take them. I have no idea if the tablets helped or if the mosquito bites simply wore off on their own. My feet are fine now.
Back in Lima I got a cold. I wanted something for my scratchy throat. In the U.S., I could visit various grocery stores or convenience stores and buy any number of throat lozenges. Here I had to look around for a pharmacy. It was around 8:30 in the morning and the first one I found was closed. The second one was open and there were two attendants. One was busy with some sort of paperwork and the other was busy helping another customer. I waited for my turn – and waited and waited. I don’t know what the woman in front of me needed but the attendant kept asking her for information, mostly numbers. This went on for a while and I was ignored. Finally, I’d had enough and walked out. On the main street I found another pharmacy that was open. An attendant was available for me and I told her I just needed something for my throat. She suggested a large bottle of syrup, which was expensive and probably overkill; all I had was a cold. I told her I’m not in the hospital, I’m not bed-ridden and I don’t need any sort of major medication. I just needed something to soothe my throat. She asked me for how many days and I guessed that 3 would be enough. She then produced several pills and told me to swallow one every 8 hours. I guess you can’t get throat lozenges in Peru.
My guess is that the high profile of cocaine here, and the proclivity to use recreational drugs that comes with it, has lead to an attitude of extreme caution, with the public, when it comes to all drugs. Also, at some point there may have been a problem with foreigners walking into drug stores to buy pain-killers or other medications that are highly regulated in the U.S. This might have led the U.S. to pressure Peru into being more strict about such things. Just a guess.
A few years back, you could get antibiotics over the counter in Guatemala.
I believe you can get most anti-biotics over the counter in most of Latin America – certainly you can in Argentina.
…. at some point there may have been a problem with foreigners walking into drug stores to buy pain-killers or other medications that are highly regulated in the U.S.
I have severe sciatica issues at times. Drugs are difficult to get in America – at least for a white male.
If you go to a doctor and they wont give you what they want, tell them to fuck off and go see the next one.
Doctors aren’t special, they are just like any other service. If they aren’t giving you what you need you have the right to fire them and go see someone else.
Personally I think that about the only thing that needs to be regulated are antibiotics just so that we don’t create an immune bacteria that ends up killing us all. But besides that, especially in the information age, I find it sickening that I need to go get permission and instructions to put something into my body.
Of course this is done in part to make Doctors money. If we were able to just buy pain killers Doctors would lose billions since they see most pain patients monthly.
Nice story JAY, I like reading about foreign countries.
Sorry about the rant, but whenever the government treats us like children I get pissed.
Sounds more like a union thing to me. You know, the pharmacists gang together and demand that only they can dispense any form of medication, even minor stuff that is in the grocery stores in the US. Sort of like some states in the US only allow alcohol to be sold in liquor stores and not in grocery stores.
“This might have led the U.S. to pressure Peru into being more strict about such things. Just a guess.”
I was in New Delhi two years ago. Pharmacists were selling almost everything over the counter, except most opiates. However, Fentanyl trans-dermal patches were freely available and cheap. I bought some Midazolam as I suffered from insomnia and it was very effective. It’s a shame that I couldn’t take it back home.
Halls cough drops… they are considered candy. You can get them at candy shops and street vendors, lol.
Source: my gf is peruvian and her cousin bought them as such, and was eating them like candy during my visit to Peru..
In Lima, there is a doctor that helps you with getting pain medication. He is quite know through the expat community his name is Carl Cummings. If you are ever in Peru again and need to get pain medication that is usually only available back home Dr Cummings is your best option. his email is carlcummings88 At hotmail
I hope this helps someone.
If you are looking for oxycontin or any other pain medication in Lima , Peru. Contact Dr. Cummings. I had the pleasure of meeting him last time I was in Lima, helped me out a bunch.
I approved your comment, grudgingly. I hope this doesn’t encourage, or enable, those who abuse such medications.