I, unfortunately, am of an age and with a genetic predisposition to hypertension so like millions of others like me, I must take prescription tablets for my high blood pressure every day. On a recent multi-centre business trip to the States, I stupidly left all my medication behind me in one of the hotels and didn’t discover my error until I had arrived at my next city. With over a week still to go before i was going to be back home, I realized that I would have to get a new prescription filled. For those of you who have never been faced with this experience in the States, here’s what happened next:
I emailed my office and asked them to get on to my pharmacist and ask for both the dosages and active ingredients of the three different medications I was on. The request for details of the active ingredients was important because not every proprietary brand is sold in every country but a generic or brand equivalent might be so the active ingredient information tells the pharmacist what actual compounds the alternative medication must contain and the obviously the dosage amount states how much of the drug must be administered. Unfortunately, federal law in the US does not allow pharmacists to sell any medications whatsoever without a doctor’s prescription so I had no option but to seek out a doctor at a moment’s notice and get an appointment. That was me down $175 straight away so never complain about what your Irish doctor charges. Next came the task of finding a branch of Walgreens (one of the largest pharmacy chains in the USA) that was open 24/7. A five mile dash across town found me waiting over an hour whilst they filled the prescription and even though i requested just a 7-day supply, they still charged me the princely sum of $72.56 for the 21 tablets!
All in all, I ended up spending more than half a day, more than $250 and not a little stress/frustration as penance for forgetting my few humble tablets so if you happen to find yourself travelling over to the States for business or pleasure and are on medication, please, please, please ensure that you don’t forget your pills!