5 Things to Know about Buying Medications Abroad

Photo Credit: Jamie via Flickr

Photo Credit: Jamie via Flickr

More and more travelers are venturing into remote and undeveloped areas, either on group tours or on their own.  But, what happens when you’re traveling in a remote area and get sick?

You have two choices: to self treat, or to seek medical help.  If you’re treating yourself, Professor Larry Goodyer, who has lectured and taught widely on travel medicine, wants you to know a few things.

Goodyer, Professor of Pharmacy Practice and Head of the Leicester School of Pharmacy at De Montfort University UK,  recommends taking all your medications with you, and avoiding purchasing local medicines.  In many countries drugstores may not be regulated like they are in the US, Canada, and Europe; and travelers may encounter issues of quality and availability.  Other factors to consider are:

  • Packaging may be in a different language, making it difficult to follow instructions.
  • Some medications may be banned in your home country.
  • Some countries have a high incidence of counterfeit medications.
  • Medications produced locally can be mislabeled.
  • Different countries have variations in production, and medications may be substandard.

Lastly, there is a huge potential for buying something dangerous.  Counterfeit medications can be especially dangerous, and can even kill.

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