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Mar
27

Travel Health-Filling Prescriptions Abroad

Travel Health

rome

rome

Q: What do you do if you find yourself running out of your prescription while abroad?

A: I actually came across this very situation. I was in San Juan, P.R., and saw that I was running out of my prescription antibiotic, and had forgotten to refill at home. But lucky for me there was a CVS right down the block from my hotel in San Juan and CVS was my pharmacy back home. I would just have my doctor call or fax my prescription.

CVS

CVS

Sounds simple, right?

Sadly, as life would have it, it turns out that doctors in one country cannot necessarily prescribe a medicine in another country, even from the United States to one of its commonwealths.

“It really depends on the pharmacy laws of whatever that country is,” Jordan Paradise, a lawyer who teaches food and drug law at Seton Hall University School of Law in Newark, said. “Certain countries are not comfortable dispensing based on a prescription that doesn’t originate in their own country.”

It’s just not easy for a traveler to find out the policy in any given country. Carl Coleman, who teaches health and pharmacy law at Seton Hall, has had problems filling his own prescriptions in Europe.

paris

paris

“I’ve tried to figure out what the law is in France and haven’t been able to,” he said. “But my personal experience is that some pharmacies, especially in the larger cities, will fill a faxed doctor’s prescription from the U.S. while others won’t.”

Most experts agree  policies vary widely, not just from country to country but also from pharmacist to pharmacist. But if you have a child that needs asthma medication, you shouldn’t have a problem finding a pharmacist who won’t give it to you.  But try to fill a prescription for a controlled substance like Ambien, or a pain killer and you might be out of luck.

ambien

ambien

To avoid being in that situation, health professionals advise travelers to carry a surplus of medication in its original container, along with a copy of the paper prescription.

But what constitutes a surplus? Once you leave the country, the laws get fuzzy, and customs officials might confiscate your medicine or detain you for innocent infractions.

In Japan, for example, travelers may not have any amount of a stimulant, like pseudoephedrine or Ritalin, even for personal medical use. And something so seemingly anodyne as heartburn medication is more tightly regulated throughout Europe than in the United States. All of this is, if caught, can cause serious headaches.

BUT there are other ways to go about these things:

The hotel concierge: The laws in Europe are certainly way more relaxed than they are in America and really you can get most anything if you go about it the right way. One of the best ways? Use your concierge. Tell them what you need and nine times out of ten they’ll have someone go and get it from a pharmacy they work with or they’ll call a  “doctor on wheels” over who will check you out and write you a prescription after a few cursory questions.

doctor-on-call

doctor-on-call

Or if you’re really sick or in need of heavy-duty drugs, you can also try the nearest United States Consulate or Embassy, many have lists of local doctors. Or you can look up an English-speaking doctor on the Web site of the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers, iamat.org. It is a nonprofit traveler’s aid organization; membership is free and the group has lists of doctors all over the world.

It is also important to know the generic name of the drug you are taking, since brand names vary widely. For this reason, and to ensure clear communication among health care professionals and scientists, the World Health Organization has been working on an international nomenclature for drugs.

that little blue pill

that little blue pill

Another benefit of going generic is that it is often much cheaper than the brand-name product. It can pay to shop around — especially if you have a few unexpected extra days on your hands. So what if you’re in Rome with your new girlfriend and running low on Viagra? Sadly, nine out of ten pharmacies won’t give it to you because of the complications it can give your heart, saying nothing of the complications it can give your girlfriend. You’ll have to either get it the old fashioned way-the Internet, or spend more time in museums.

Whether you are taking the test after only a month of prep or after six months, you should make sure to spend the last week or two really going full https://justdomyhomework.com/ steam on gre prep

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