Thursday, September 27, 2012

Won't Miss #491 - weak medicine/fewer self-care options

A small crowd accumulating outside of Sun Drug, no doubt to purchase weak and ineffectual OTC medicine.

On many occasions, I spoke with students about over the counter (OTC) medication and my frustration with the impotence and high cost of it in Japan. They mentioned, quite rightfully so, that Japanese bodies are more petite than those of foreigners on average. However, it is also simply the case that stronger medicine in Japan is controlled more there. You need a doctor's prescription in most cases to get things which you can pick up without one in the U.S. Though this post has been sitting in my blog's buffer for over a year waiting for me to pick up the idea and write about it, a recent experience in the U.S. brought this home to some extent. My husband had a cap put on his tooth about 8 months ago (while still in Japan) which fell out late at night. We could hop in the car and go out to buy dental cement at a local Walgreen's and he could put the cap back on himself (at least temporarily). I can't say for sure, but my guess is that such things would not be possible in Japan as they believe only qualified professionals should be able to do such things. 

I won't miss the weaker medicine and the limited options for self-care in Japan because people in general feel that they can't be responsible for treating themselves for minor illnesses and issues.