An over the counter, “drug store diagnosis” and drug dispensing

in Medicine by

I usually go to drugstores incognito to buy my own anti allergy meds. During these incognito trips to pharmacies and drugstores, I get to witness interactions between customers and pharmacy attendants without them knowing I’m a medical professional. Most conversations are totally harmless but on few occasions, I hear conversations that could probably bedevils me.

Here’s one of the sales lady – buyer overheard conversations:

Customer: “Miss ano maganda gamot sa trankaso?”(Miss , what drug can you recommend for flu?)

Saleslady:(Name of brand X drug), trangkaso man kaha.” (_________, you got flu, right?)
Customer:” Three times a day na sya ano?”( Three times a day?)

While the saleslady was getting the drug…..

Customer: “Unsa, maayo nga antibiotic para sa trangkaso?”(Miss , what antibiotic can you recommend for flu?)
Saleslady: “Konsulta sa mo sa duktor nay.” (Consult a doctor first)
Customer: “Cge, katong Decolgen na lang ako-a, tatlo ka buok. Ug isa ka Eskinol kanang medium bottle)” (I’ll get three tablets of Decolgen and one Eskinol medium sized bottle.)

Here’s another.

Customer:”Miss anong maganda na bitamina para sa matatanda?” (What’s vitamin can you recommend for adults?)
Saleslady:“Para sa unsa?Ugat o bukog?”( For what?Nerves or bones?)
Customer: “Sakit man yung likod ko kasi. Yung para sa ugat. Bigyan mo ako ng pito” (I have backpain, I need the one for nerves.Give me seven pieces.)

I was shaking my head in disbelief. If this is happening in one major drug dispensing store, I could only sigh for whats happening in other smaller drug stores somewhere else!

I cannot simply point finger on any one health stake holder as the cause of this drug dispensing dyseducation (for lack of a better term), but I’m pretty sure we all contribute.

That’s why it is imperative that pharmacists (or their salespersons) are not allowed to prescribe drugs or give health information that are beyond their knowledge base. In Medicine, a bad information is no worse than no information at all. And it kills, mind you. That’s why accountability for providing health care is a must, otherwise these type of interactions just go unabated.

Dr. Remo-tito Aguilar co-founded #HealthXPh. A board certified orthopedic surgeon, he is Chief of Clinics at General Santos Medical Center and Medical Specialist II Orthopedics at the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City. Dr. Aguilar is a healthcare social media evangelist and writes his medical musings at The Cast & Curious (