1. Debbie Beardsley
    February 16, 2011 @ 12:17 am

    Upon arriving in Munich my 18 year old son became sick and had a high temperature. Since both my kids were not young, as the good mother I am, didn’t have any type of medication. Yes we ventured to the local Apotheke. My husband kept saying he wanted Tylenol but they had no idea what that was. Then it dawned on me to say “ibuprofen” and bingo we were on our way back to the hotel. So yes, generic names are essential. We did end up calling a doctor and I have nothing but high praise for the German health care. She came to the hotel and I was expecting a whopper of a bill. . . but it only ended up being about $70!

    • Andrew
      February 16, 2011 @ 8:39 pm

      Tylenol is called Paracetamol as a generic. I learned that last year with a friend of mine. It apparently is widely known as that outside the US too. Yes, the system here is as far as I have experienced top notch. The Germans complain some, but I remember the US system.

  2. Jeremy B
    February 15, 2011 @ 6:56 pm

    It’s interesting that pharmacists have as much authority as doctors in some cases.

    • Andrew
      February 16, 2011 @ 8:35 pm

      I don’t know about authority. There still are prescription medicines there that you need to go to the doctor to get the prescription for. But the mass of self-diagnosis and self-treatment with over-the-counter medicine in the US is less here because you can’t just pick it up and pay for it. Although I have yet to ask for a standard medicine at the Apotheke and be told no.

  3. Miss Footloose | Life in the Expat Lane
    February 15, 2011 @ 3:17 pm

    In my travels around the world I’ve heard some funny and embarrassing stories of travelers with problems of a more intimate nature who tried to pantomime them to pharmacists/chemists in front of other customers. Think female yeast infections, etc. The only comfort there is that you end up with a great story, afterwards, if you haven’t died from embarrassment first.

    • Andrew
      February 16, 2011 @ 8:32 pm

      Great stories sometime require a bit of embarrassment, but are often worth it.

  4. Ali
    February 15, 2011 @ 6:29 am

    I’m so glad you pointed out that the A does not stand for adultery, could’ve been really confusing for some people ;-) Always good advice to have the generic names of prescriptions written down for when you travel. And I’ve been told to keep my prescriptions in the original bottles to avoid running into problems.

    • Andrew
      February 16, 2011 @ 8:31 pm

      I don’t really carry much medicine with me, but the generic names I am learning. That and the international standard mime actions for various sicknesses. :)

  5. Sabrina
    February 14, 2011 @ 8:55 pm

    As you can imagine, I had the opposite experience here in the US… I was surprised how little the pharmacists knew (or cared?). If I ask them anything about mixing two different medicines, they start reading the pamphlets. Gee, thanks! First of all, I can read. Second, it doesn’t inspire confidence if you can’t anwer things without reading the same stuff I have access to. Very annoying. Glad you like the Apotheke though :)

    • Andrew
      February 16, 2011 @ 7:35 pm

      An actual pharmacist (not the one at the front that just works the register) should have a fair amount of training, whether they care is certainly something else. I imagine when noone actually asks their opinion and the number of different drugs keeps going up it is hard to motivate keeping up the skills.
      I have had a little inconsistency between various people, but usually the advice is good here. I chalk it up to the effect of trying to diagnose something based on verbal description and not examination like a doctor.