Getting Medicines in Phnom Penh

Living in Phnom Penh / Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Yesterday, we went around to different pharmacies to replenish our medicine/first aid supply at home. We usually have medicines for headache, diarrhea, common colds, some antiseptics, benadryl for my allergies, medicines for our daughter (mostly kids paracetamol, cough and cold syrup), bandages etc. Before it could be hard to get hold of quality meds here in Phnom Penh but thankfully the pharmacy services have improved a lot and we could easily get what we need. There are also new pharmacy/health stores already open all throughout the city like UCare and Pharmlink which offers a good variety of imported medicines, vitamins, supplements, cosmetics, personal hygiene products.

I’ve also noticed that in some pharmacies, people would simply come and ask for medicine for example, a cold and the pharmacist (I dunno if they really are pharmacists or simple sellers) would mix several medicines and prescribe it as treatment. Like when my niece had a cold, the pharmacist gave a big bunch of medicines including anti-biotics which she doesn’t need coz a cold is a virus.. I guess they would include it in the pack just to sell more. I don’t usually gripe about things that can be considered trivial but I find it dangerous if they do things like that.

That’s why whenever I go to a pharmacy here, I already have a presciption from a doctor or I know what medicine brand, and the quantity I would be needing. Another thing is to be mindful of the expiration dates of the things you buy. Check each one for expiration dates.

As for hospital and medical services here.. I have not much to say in that area though there are some hospitals that are considered to have acceptable services. Last time my husband was hospitalized, we went to Calmette Hospital, a French-government funded hospital and everything was allright though you have to wait a couple of weeks before you can have any lab test results as tests are sent over to France for analysis. There’s also Royal Rattanak Hospital run by international specialists and affiliated with a hospital in Bangkok. I do hear a lot of foreigners saying that it’s best not to get sick in Cambodia, and for serious medical treatments, its still best to head over to Singapore or Bangkok.

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