Friday, January 20, 2006


Nagyvárad Gyógyszertár (Pharmacy), and whatever parts of the Hungarian government which regulate pharmacies

As requested, we've got yet another candidate for this blog. This listing is a couple of weeks late, as the incident took place over the Holidays, but better late than never.

I had to get a prescription filled on a holiday in the afternoon and went to the nearest duty pharmacy, which was:

Nagyvárad Gyógyszertár
1091 Budapest, IX. kerület, Üllői út 121.

According to weborvos, it has duty for that district:

2004. októberétől 2005. márciusig ügyelő patikák:

Nagyvárad Gyógyszertár
1091. Üllői út. 121.

Regardless, it was the closest open one at hand.

So, I head off to it only to find a long line of people standing in the freezing rain (no exaggeration) handing in their prescriptions through a tiny window to the pharmacist. The pharmacist would then relay the order to her assistant who would find the desired medicament, ring it up and bring it to the window for payment.

Under cold weather conditions, let me tell you, this is inconvenient as hell. You are literally out in the cold, dark freezing rain.

Ok, but at least you get your prescription, right?

Nope, not in my case.

The pharmacist looks at the prescription and says: "I'm sorry, but the earliest I can fill this is tomorrow."

Me (jaw dropping): "What?"

Pharmacist: "I just don't have time to mix it."

Me: "I'm sorry, but I can't get it filled anywhere else. You've got a monopoly on medicaments at the moment."

Pharmacist (to next person in line): "I don't have time. Next person, please."

Me (stunned).

As I'm to understand it, one cannot just open a pharmacy wherever one wants. In addition to getting a doctorate in pharmacy, one needs to negotiate with the government to get a permit to open a pharmacy.

So, because of their monopoly grip on the retail pharmaceutical market, the average consumer is left out in the cold without any service whatsoever.

Lesson to be learned: In Hungary, get your medicaments ahead of time.

Experiences like this make me appreciate the super drugstores found in North America. The medical assistant will call ahead to the 24 hour pharmacy, which will have your prescription waiting for you. Oh, yeah, it is not cold and dark inside either.

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