The nice young doctor on duty spoke good English and wrote me a prescription. I congratulated myself on (a) sidestepping the more expensive private clinic and (b) completing yet another Mexican transaction with relative luck and ease.
On the way home from the clinic, I took the prescription to the nearest pharmacy and presented it to the person at the counter. The grimace, then the slow, sad shaking of the head told me they could not fill it. No matter, thought, I, there are plenty of other pharmacies in town.
I visited them all on the way home, with more or less the same result. The most hopeful response came from the generic pharmacy, whose cashier told me her husband had a pharmacy in the next town, and he could fill it for me. I called the number she had given me but it didn’t work. I asked around over the next week and someone told me they knew the place and it had closed. Or moved. In any case it wasn’t there any more. I returned to the generic pharmacy a few times to clarify with the wife but never managed to find her there.
Never mind, I’d just have it filled in Cabo San Lucas. Everyone knew that Costco or Walmart would fill such prescriptions, so imagine my surprise when the Costco pharmacist gave me the same grimace and head shake I’d had in Todos Santos. I tried a few more pharmacies in Cabo, then gave up.
Recently someone mentioned there was a new, smart, young doc in town, so I sat down in her comfy office and explained my dilemma. She looked at the prescription and told me that there were two problems. First, the clinic doc was an intern so couldn’t write prescriptions. Second, narcotics are tightly controlled in Mexico and must be written on a special prescription pad, which this was not.
As I marveled silently that none of the 10 or more pharmacies I’d visited had mentioned the problem, she said she would be getting a special pad the following week and I should call her on Tuesday. Which I did, but her phone didn’t work, so I stopped in later that afternoon.
Whence she told me she had ordered the special prescription pad but it takes 5 days to arrive, so I should check back the following Tuesday.
Welcome (again) to Mexico…