Thursday, April 11, 2013

Assimiliation 1,001: visiting the German Apotheke (pharmacy)

I decided that I needed to dive farther into local life: I had a prescription filled at the pharmacy (die Apotheke) down the street from my house. I had stopped by before to ask if the medications I take are carried there. One medication is not but I was able to find a substitute. I had been trying to decide if I wanted to get my prescriptions filled locally, or on the base with the medical hospital, because I am allowed to use the pharmacy there.

Since the pharmacist was so friendly at the German pharmacy and since I couldn't get the exact medication I was looking for at either pharmacy, I decided to try out the Germany pharmacy. The pharmacist there laid out all the prices for the medications. The more one buys, the more one saves. In fact, it's possible to get a six-month supply if one's doctor writes the script for it. Of course, it depends on a person's insurance on what the insurance will pay for, but I've never heard of US pharmacies doing a six-month supply before, so that was cool.

Herr Pharmacist was also really nice about telling me all the options for medications and said that technically they are only supposed to accept German or EU scripts, but my American script would be okay as long as my doctor wrote it in a format they could understand (i.e. chemical names and amounts that are comparable to the German medications).

I took my script in tonight and was a bit shocked when...the pharmacist actually filled it as I was standing there. I'm so accustomed to having to drop off a script and wait and wait or come back hours later to pick it up in the US. Also, US pharmacy staff always seem so harried (though they've always been pleasant, but I can tell they're stressed out) -- probably because there are so many scripts to fill, they're understaffed, and overstressed. At the German pharmacy, I never felt that I was rushed or that the staff was rushed. I was thrilled that I had my prescription in the time it took the pharmacist to grab it from another room.

I'm not sure if the price is more or less than what I'd pay on base, but I was really happy with my experience at the German pharmacy.

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