Today was productive. I managed to make a lab appointment for blood tests, a echogram appointment at the nearest hospital, and to have all my prescriptions filled at the pharmacy.
In France, there’s a pharmacy on every corner. The French take their medicines very seriously. Unlike in the over-the-counter United States, most medicines are only available in a pharmacy. It took me quite a while to get used to the fact that I couldn’t get ibuprofen at my weekly visit to the grocery store. Instead, I could only get a pack of 10 or so pills at the pharmacy…and only by requesting it.
I’m not sure what to think about that. I suppose it is helpful, since being a foreigner here, I wouldn’t know what I was looking at if they DID give easy access to everything anyway.
The positives of the French system are that I got all this (pictured below) and only paid 4 euros 90 centimes for the one thing that wasn’t covered. The rest totaling under 30 euros was covered both by the system and our top-up insurance.
If I were to purchase these same items in the same quantities over a three-month period from the United States (assuming they were available), I would have paid over an estimated $200 without insurance. It’s no mystery that prescriptions are outrageously priced in the United States. That’s capitalism for ya!
The one aspect of capitalism I do miss is walking into a Whole Foods type of store and having my choice of supplements and vitamins to choose from. I also miss stores like Walgreens and CVS, where I can get my hands on any over-the-counter medication without having to speak to a single soul.
So far, though, I have to give the points on this round to socialized healthcare!