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Old 19-04-2015, 19:21   #1
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Filling Prescriptions While Cruising?

Looking for some sage advice. Like many, I am forced to take daily prescriptions to maintain a balanced blood chemistry. (type II diabetes) I am interested in learning what others may do to keep their prescriptions filled while cruising. Wouldn't remote cruising areas be difficult? Relying on US pharmacies and shipping, I would think, could make scripts very difficult to get and add quite a bit to the costs.

Thanks
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Old 19-04-2015, 20:22   #2
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Re: Filling Prescriptions While Cruising?

Most medicines are available worldwide. Insulin will keep a loooong time in the fridge


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Old 19-04-2015, 20:30   #3
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Re: Filling Prescriptions While Cruising?

In some 3rd world countries, expensive medicines may not be available. I have a situation with my hypertension medication that is only carried in two pharmacies in a city of 4 million residents. Last year, I went 6 weeks without it, and that was dangerous. I now keep a 2 month supply.
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Old 19-04-2015, 20:45   #4
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Re: Filling Prescriptions While Cruising?

Now that we're on medical issues, I have an advisory on getting an injection in a 3rd world country.

DON'T EVER get one without your wingman, watching and verifying the process. This is the scam, and for outsiders especially, this is the rule, I've seen it happen.

The medical 'professional' tells you to lay face down on the gurney while they prepare the syringe. They sometimes, but very often, have a box filled with saved empty vials, and then suck a few drops out of each one until they fill the syringe. They then inject you with this concoction.

They can also 'pretend' to give you the injection by not depressing the plunger, and then save that syringe for someone else. They pocket the money both ways.

This is incredibly dangerous, and I've seen tourists end up with some bad infections as a result. This is COMMON!

Wingman services are available in Latin America if you don't have a spouse, and I strongly advise you use them. Make sure your spouse knows the deal.

They do this to locals as well. My niece was having a baby recently, and my sister in law demanded that she observe what they're injecting in her daughter. The staff balked but she held her ground and told them she'll take her daughter out of there unless she sees what they're injecting her with.

This is the French legal system and not the English Tort law system; you can't sue people here for pain and suffering or incompetence. You really don't get much if you win, like a few thousand.
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Old 19-04-2015, 20:54   #5
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Re: Filling Prescriptions While Cruising?

I don't advocate drug abuse, in fact, if I was dictator of the world, we wouldn't have drug users and traffickers; not alive, anyway.

Lots of young people die in South America because the strength of the coke is unknown to them. It's not the same as in the States.

You order the coke here in 15%, 30%, or 50% strength. You must know what strength you're getting. that 50% size is quite potent.

Some of the bars in the central district have coke in bowls right on the bar for free, ....free as long as you're buying a beer or drink. Careful with that free stuff.

Sometimes when the bartender isn't looking, some guy will run in and take a quick hit, and then run out.
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Old 19-04-2015, 21:01   #6
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Re: Filling Prescriptions While Cruising?

Yage is a drug administered by Shamans in the jungle. Many young people come to try this experience and end up dead. It says 2 deaths per year in the link, but it's much more than that. Police aren't going to mess with the Indians, so there is no justice.

There's already been two women this year killed with this stuff. I'm putting the word out to maybe prevent something like this from happening to someone else. Always a young person that dies.


British tourist Henry Miller found dead in Colombia after tribal drug ritual went wrong | Daily Mail Online
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Old 19-04-2015, 21:59   #7
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Re: Filling Prescriptions While Cruising?

Keep as long a supply as you can, and refill it far in advance.

My daughter has epilepsy and takes a medicine that most pharmacies in America have on hand. The few times we've tried to fill it at a Caribbean pharmacy has not worked well. They do not stock it. They say they will order it and have it 'next week', then 'next week' again, then again, 'next week', until we give up on them and pay ~$100 to FedEx it in by ourselves. Then, once, they called us two months later to say it had finally arrived.

So don't trust 'island time' if it's a critical medicine. Start to refill it early and have another way to get it. I think our mistake has been trying to fill it in places like Grenada instead of more developed islands like St Maarten or Martinique. When my kids were younger we filled a few prescriptions in Mexico. The pharmacies there were well stocked and had super low prices.

Hopefully your medicine is more commonly available. It's worth asking your doctor what they think, and if there's a similar drug (or generic) that may be the same but easier to find. I'd also ask for a prescription for a long supply, and have some way for a family member to ship some to you if you run low and can't get it filled wherever you are.
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Old 20-04-2015, 09:10   #8
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Re: Filling Prescriptions While Cruising?

Cards26
Thank you for the advice, very useful
Bill
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Old 20-04-2015, 09:31   #9
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Re: Filling Prescriptions While Cruising?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RHoodJr View Post
Looking for some sage advice. Like many, I am forced to take daily prescriptions to maintain a balanced blood chemistry. (type II diabetes) I am interested in learning what others may do to keep their prescriptions filled while cruising. Wouldn't remote cruising areas be difficult? Relying on US pharmacies and shipping, I would think, could make scripts very difficult to get and add quite a bit to the costs.

Thanks
Cost? Use Canada or India sources, where island pharmacies get their supplies.
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Old 20-04-2015, 09:32   #10
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Re: Filling Prescriptions While Cruising?

a lot depends on where you are cruising. In the US, if your doctor prescribes a prescription, I have had CVS fill it in other states. my wife and I take blood fat and blood pressure medicine.

In the bahamas, just go to the pharmacy.
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Old 20-04-2015, 09:35   #11
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Re: Filling Prescriptions While Cruising?

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Originally Posted by cards26 View Post
I don't advocate drug abuse, in fact, if I was dictator of the world, we wouldn't have drug users and traffickers; not alive, anyway.
So my brother, a longtime cocaine addict since recovered, you would have killed?
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Old 20-04-2015, 09:39   #12
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Re: Filling Prescriptions While Cruising?

This is an oft-discussed subject here. Try a search on "prescriptions" and Google prescriptions when traveling.

Have a safe journey.
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Old 20-04-2015, 09:45   #13
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Re: Filling Prescriptions While Cruising?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RHoodJr View Post
Looking for some sage advice. Like many, I am forced to take daily prescriptions to maintain a balanced blood chemistry. (type II diabetes) I am interested in learning what others may do to keep their prescriptions filled while cruising. Wouldn't remote cruising areas be difficult? Relying on US pharmacies and shipping, I would think, could make scripts very difficult to get and add quite a bit to the costs.

Thanks
It depends on how long you will be gone and how "remote" your cruising.

My wife and I have found that if we tell the doctor or pharmacy that we will be away for a long time, they will give (sell) us what we need until we return. Granted, we have only been away few months at the longest. I doubt they would fill a prescription for a year or more but there's no harm in asking.


I would be more worried about getting proper medical care in remote areas. Have a heart attack or stroke and you're probably "toast". Even though I've only cruised the US east coast, I worry about that. If you're underway or at anchor, how quickly could you get medical attention?
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Old 20-04-2015, 10:52   #14
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Re: Filling Prescriptions While Cruising?

We are Canadian and have been cruising fulltime since Aug 2013. A lot of that is on the Pacific Side of Mexico so our knowledge is some what limited. I have chronic health issues that require prescription meds. I initially started with one-year prescriptions for the meds I regularly take. When I head north I get at least a six-month top up for those meds. I also talked with my doctors to find if there were other meds I should be taking along (e.g. antibiotics, stuff to take when you get intestinal woes, corticosteroids, and so on). They were willing to give me prescriptions and the advice as to when and how you use them. Try to ensure you have some documentation on board to support your having this amount of meds just in case (we have never had any problem but you never know). Overall, we have had very positive experiences with getting health care in Mexico. However, there are potential problems that can arise because of language, naming, and labelling differences which I won't go into here. Just be vigilant and do not take anything for granted. We are about to leave Mexico for Central and South America and I'm sure there will be more to learn as we head south.

Wayne
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Old 20-04-2015, 13:03   #15
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Re: Filling Prescriptions While Cruising?

I think it is important to keep in mind that good health care and modern drugs are available in much of the world, and at a fraction of the cost of US health care. Drugs that require a prescription in the US are usually available over the counter elsewhere (narcotics and such are a different matter).

When I tell people that I had a heart attack while in Turkey, the usual reactions are based on the assumption that the health care must be inferior - utter nonsense. I had world-class care with state-of-the-art technology, at a small fraction of the cost in the US. While in Venezuela in 1995 the skipper of another yacht had to get lower back surgery; at a time when getting an MRI in the US was hard to schedule he got one there within a day, and the surgery was essentially the same as I had received in the US a few years earlier. A friend of mine had surgery on his neck in Malaysia, putting titanium in 4 vertebrae with a procedure developed in Japan. Do not be misled into believing that quality medical care is only available in Europe and English-speaking countries! That said, there are places that you don't want to have to seek care...

As for drug availability, common ones like statins and beta blockers are widely available so I would expect common diabetes drugs like insulin to also be available. Patent drugs may be less available but will be much less expensive if you can find them. Just plan ahead, and always keep a good stock on board.

Most importantly, don't let this deter you from your cruising adventure!

Greg
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