Tuesday, July 21, 2009

At the Pharmacy

I am an allergy sufferer and to alleviate my symptoms I take a prescription medication year round to keep them in check. Having neither the time nor energy to visit my doctor for a prescription refill I put off the inevitable task of replacing my medication. That is until several weeks ago when my allergies got the best of me and made my daily life unbearable. Seeking relief I went to my local pharmacy and explained my situation to the pharmacist and he gave me a comparable over the counter substitution.

This arrangement worked out well until two days ago when I once again ran out of my substitute medication. Not wanting to suffer as badly as I did last time, I visited my local pharmacy today. The pharmacist who originally supplied my substitute medication wasn't there and I requested a replacement from the woman behind the counter. To my disappointment they were out of my substitute medication and she proposed a substitute for the substitute. I hesitated for a moment and then I told her that I wasn't interested since I normally use a prescription medication but didn't have a prescription and didn't want to try something new yet again. To my surprise and with an expression that said "why didn't you just tell me that in the first place", she told me that she would just give me my usual prescription medication.

As appreciative as I was by her gesture and as happy as I was that the medication only cost less than 10€ even without a prescription, it made me wonder, doesn't this kind of behavior devalue the whole concept of a prescription from a doctor?


Isabelle said...

Doctors don't always prescribe medications that can't be sold over the counter.
At least in your case you don't have to pay him another visit to renew your prescribtion.
In the case you find that the medication he gave you isn't working well, you should ask him something stronger, and this time you will only be able to get it at the pharmacy with a prescribtion.

Anonymous said...

I have to say, French pharmacies are amazingly efficient. And you cannot beat the cost (incredible!). Cherish it!

L'Étrangère Americaine said...

Isabelle: that's good to know that doctors sometimes give prescriptions for medications that don't necessarily require them.

The medication that I normally use is absolutely perfect and relieves all of my symptoms.

Anon: I second that. You really can't beat the cost. Especially with the secu and mutuelle reimbursements.

Ksam said...

At least at my pharmacy, they are allowed to give you one month's worth (or one 'plaquette') to tide you over until you get a new prescription. (ie following the line of thinking that it's more important not to have a lapse in the medication than to be extremely strict about having a prescription.)

Autolycus said...

Every country's different in its rules, but in the UK, it's allowed for suitable trained pharmacists to prescribe, especially when it's something to alleviate a long-standing condition - though I think there's probably a rule about periodic review by the doctor (doesn't need to be every time you need some more medicine).

Anonymous said...

Well, I do know that you can't get things without "ordonnance" from a pharmacist. However, if your allergy medication doesn't require a prescription, you don't need a doctor to write one. The pharmacist can just give it to you. But, if you get a doctor to write one, the Secu will cover it. However, since the system is becoming bankrupt, you find that they are covering less and less over the counter drugs. Luckily, my father in law is a doctor and we get our scripts for free because the man has enough samples to medicate most of the western world.