Old Apr 20th, 2006, 08:18 AM
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Does anyone know whether it is less expensive to buy RX medicines (such as Zithromax) in China and whether it is necessary to have a doctor's prescription.
I will be going to China May 10th and might want to get an antibiotic.
JudySue is offline  
Old Apr 20th, 2006, 02:15 PM
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You probably would be better off getting Rx medicines at home and taking it with you. That way, you are assured of the quality and won't have to look for it when you need it. We had trouble finding even some over-the-counter brands like Anbesol for a toothache. Why take the chance?
Lia is offline  
Old Apr 20th, 2006, 07:22 PM
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You cannot buy antibiotics over the counter in China. You need a doctor's prescription. It must be from a doctor licensed in the PRC. Some medications are not available or have different names. Hotels have doctors on call and they can get you something if you become ill with a bacterial infection. Generally prices are lower.

You also need to have something which is prescribed for the particular problem, or it won't solve the problem, so bringing along just any antibiotic doesn't make any sense to me. Also, the illness may be viral in which case antibiotics won't work at all, and if you take them, you will feel better eventually because your body will heal itself, not because of the antibiotic which was useless. It will also just lower bacteria's overall resistence to antiobiotics, which is a growing problem.
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Old Apr 20th, 2006, 10:07 PM
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Unfortunately a large number of different antibiotics and other powerful drugs that would elsewhere only be available on prescription are easily available over the counter in China. Indeed, some common antibiotics are available in half a dozen different brands even in small pharmacies in small towns. The Latin names of the drugs are invariably visible on the packages even when the manufacturer is Chinese.

However, and setting aside that no one should be acquiring antibiotics without a specific qualified instruction to do so, nor taking them in any manner other than that prescribed, there are many fake drugs on the shelves. Some of these appear to be Western brands for which the packaging may have been well duplicated or imitated but the quality of the drug may be non-existent. Other Chinese brands may not contain what they purport to contain, may not have been manufactured under adequate conditions, may not have been stored so as to preserve their medicinal quality, or may not be of the strength they claim to be.

In short, although it is easy to buy such drugs in China, it is unwise to do so. In terms of everyday remedies, it is still better to take what you need, since although most Western products are available, for instance at branches of the Hong Kong pharmacy Watson's in Beijing, Shanghai, and a few other mainland cities, supply is generally unpredictable, and in some cases UK brands are more easily found than US ones, sometimes vice versa.

Peter N-H
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Old Apr 20th, 2006, 10:55 PM
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Many of those so-called "antibiotics" sold over the counter in the PRC are in fact fakes. I would never buy them. It's hard enough when you actually have a prescription to know if you are getting the real thing.
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Old Apr 21st, 2006, 10:12 AM
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We have found www.canadadrugsonline.com
a better bargain for our needs than China and/or Mexico.
M (MD - SMdA, Gto., MX)
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