OTC

31 May

In an post almost exactly a year ago, I mentioned some of the differences between convenience stores in America and the ones here in Japan.
(Click here to see that post.)

One of the differences I mentioned was that in America, over-the-counter medicines (OTC), such as aspirin and cough medicine, can be purchased at conveniences stores and even at gas stations.

But, in Japan, the selling of medicine is highly regulated and even OTC medicine can only be bought at drug stores (which aren’t open 24 hours a day like convenience stores).
This is because drug stores are staffed by licensed pharmacists and to even buy aspirin or cough medicine, you had to describe your symptoms to the pharmacist and he would suggest which medicine you should use…and explain the proper dosage.

Well, the Japanese government just relaxed the regulation of OTC medications, and beginning tomorrow convenience stores and supermarkets can sell OTC medications like aspirin and cough medicine, etc.

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6 Responses to “OTC”

  1. Tsukareru June 7, 2009 at 12:35 pm #

    There are more and more OTC restrictions in the US these days. It’s to prevent people from buying certain drugs in bulk to cook methamphetamine.

    Trying to buy sleeping pills from a Japanese drug store was a little tough.
    I was only 19 at that time… Now that I think about it, maybe I seemed… off. From jetlag. Maybe they thought I was suicidal?! I was able to buy it, though.

    Like

    • tokyo5 June 7, 2009 at 6:57 pm #

      >There are more and more OTC restrictions in the US these days. It’s to prevent people from buying certain drugs in bulk to cook methamphetamine.

      The restrictions on buying OTC medicines in Japan were for totally different reasons!

      >Trying to buy sleeping pills from a Japanese drug store was a little tough.

      They probably weren’t assuming you were suicidal…but, in Japan, to buy any medicine (not only sleeping pills), you need to explain your symptoms to the pharmacist so they can be sure you get the correct medicine.

      I think it’s good. Taking medicine (even OTC) can be dangerous if the correct dosage, etc aren’t followed.

      Like

  2. heri koesnadi May 31, 2009 at 11:42 pm #

    wow, its so protective right?

    Like

    • tokyo5 June 1, 2009 at 12:21 am #

      Until recently, drug stores in Japan were forbidden from ever offering sale prices or coupons…for fear that people might stockpile and potentially overdose or still use the medicine after it expired.

      Like

  3. Eric May 31, 2009 at 11:39 pm #

    This is great. I can remember a few times when I needed some cold medicine, but couldn’t get any because all of the pharmacies close at 7pm. Although most of the Japanese medicine is super weak, so it probably wouldn’t have helped much.

    Like

    • tokyo5 June 1, 2009 at 12:18 am #

      Compared to medicines in America / Canada, yes Japanese medicine isn’t so strong.

      Because most Japanese feel that taking too many / too strong drugs could result in worse health in the long-run.
      (ie: taking strong medicine just for a cold (that will run it’s course on it’s own anyway) might cause liver damage).

      This fear is reinforced when there’s news about things like the “Tamiflu” influenza medicine from America that caused kids to hallucinate and jump off roofs.

      I used to like to take strong medicine when I was sick when I lived in America…but now I agree that it’s better to take as less medicine as possible. I try to take none at all unless I’m real sick.

      Like

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