Since moving to Salinas we have had several medical issues that have not necessarily required a doctors attention but did need some form of medication. We have found that the young men who work at the pharmacy located one block behind the Malecon near Banco del Pacifico are very easy to work with, extremely knowledgeable and have been excellent in providing us with the right medications needed for our minor discomforts.
First, a note of explanation of how things work here. In Latin America pharmacists play a larger role than back in the US. Most medicines are available over the counter and most are behind the counter. You tell the pharmacist what hurts and he does the rest. In Panama they take your temperature, blood pressure, check your blood sugar levels, etc. They will call a doctor or refer you to one as needed. I’ve had a pharmacist come to the house, call the next day to see how I was feeling, come by with a refill. In Panama my husband had a kidney stone attack late in the night and I called the pharmacist at home to find out how to get an ambulance. Instead she and her husband were at our house in 5 minutes and she called a doctor to meet her at our house. They set up an IV and gave Joe shots and pills for the pain. Everyone stayed until he was pain-free and asleep some hours later. The Doctor shows up the next morning to take us into David City for X-rays. He showed up again in the evening to do another IV. All this through the local pharmacist. By the way – all medicines, equipment, IVs, needles, X-rays, 3 house calls, totaled $160. So we have a real appreciation of what a good pharmacist can do for us.
I have had a series of issues between the head spinning and that last bout with a flu that had me out of sorts for two weeks. We have also the hurdle of our limited Spanish to deal with along with feeling awful. We have been able to get medications for pain, sore throat, coughing etc. because these guys have been so patient and understanding of our situation. The cost is a fraction of what we would pay for over the counter medications back in the states and actually Joe’s daily maintenance medications are 1/3 the price of what we paid in Panama. Also as mentioned, unless it is a strong narcotic, it is available over the counter. They also carry some alternative natural medicine items not easy to get back in FDA Land for those of you who believe. There is a plant extract from the Amazon called BIRM used here as an immune system booster we are trying to see if it will help fend off the flu. Also they will sell you one pill if that’s all you need, and probably give you the water to take it with!