A couple of months ago while we were in the US Allan's American doctor recommended Allan take Cipro for a week to cure a minor medical condition. Allan decided to pick up the drug when we returned to Playa del Carmen as it was less expensive (and we were unaware of the new law). When Allan sent me to the pharmacy in Mexico I was stunned that the pharmacists would not sell it without a prescription. They mentioned a new law passed and pointed to a sign explaining the new legislation. I unsuccessfully tried 4 different pharmacies, hoping one would ignore the law.
At first we viewed the law as a bit of an inconvenience. We wondered why Mexico was focusing on antibiotics. Although they are strongly regulated in the US, so is almost everything in America. From our experience in Mexico things are a bit more laid back. Why decide to control antibiotics now?
Our opinion has since changed after speaking with a local Mexican doctor. According to him the Mexican legislature was faced with a financial crisis and felt compelled to act. Many sick were incorrectly self-medicating themselves with antibiotics, often with the wrong dosage or completely wrong medicine. Consequently the state sponsored hospitals were seeing a rise in the amount of patients who required stronger, and hence more expensive, antibiotics because the bacteria was becoming resistant to the antibiotics. Through improper use and dosage, the sick were essentially not killing the bacteria, but rather making it stronger. Hypothetically 8 out of every 10 patients would now need the more expensive drug and the state would have to pay for it. Additionally, by now requiring people to first visit a doctor the state would essentially help to control proper diagnosis and treatment of illnesses, thus also providing more public safety and cutting cost by hopefully having less sick.
Although the new prescription drug law makes it more difficult for us to treat minor illnesses on our own, it does help us to correctly treat our medical problems and hopefully stop the stem of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Hopefully the government will be able to cut costs and put the money to good use, like maybe fighting poverty in Mexico. A routine visit from a doctor is probably a good idea anyway, even if it is not the most convenient.
The new law also has allowed me to experience the humor of living in Mexico. Yesterday at the pharmacy the technician was pointing to a line item on the prescription and indicated that it was not in their system. Written in English were the words "plenty of fluids". I explained that it meant the patient should drink more water. When the technician could not find in their system another item on the list I joking said it meant "kiss more girls".
|Notice of the new law at the pharmacy. Translation "Dear User, this commercial pharmaceutical establishment sells antibiotics only with a medical prescription."|
|View of the beach at Playacar Phase 1|
|Demi and Mitzi|