With fall upon us, colds and sore throats are likely to be around the corner. So what do you when going to the pharmacist and doctor?
Knowing the Difference
If you’re new to the Czech Republic, you might be forgiven for thinking that a drogerie is where you go for medicine. It looks close enough to the word ‘drug’, doesn’t it?
A drogerie is a shop for toiletries, beauty and health care products, and health food. A pharmacy is called lékárna, which is often designated by a green cross containing the rod of Aesculapius (a snake around a staff) with three bowls.
In the pharmacy, you will find two counters: one for non-prescription medicine, which is designated by the sign “volně prodejné” and the other for prescription medicine, designated by “na předpis”. At the non-prescription medicine counter, you can get aspirin and other painkillers, cold and flu tablets, creams, and herbal teas. Medicine which contains pseudoephedrine can also be bought at this counter. However, you have to provide identification when you buy it because it is classified as “volně prodejný s omezením” (freely sold with limitation). Non-prescription medicines are not covered by public health insurance.
The prescription counter is where you take the prescription from your doctor. These medicines include antibiotics, ones containing codeine, and the birth control pill. The amount you will have to pay for prescription medicines will vary. Sometimes it can be 30 CZK. Sometimes a lot more. It all depends on how much the government has decided to subsidize a particular medicine. If you have some time, you can compare prices of various medicines here. “Cena” shows the full price and “doplatek” is how much the patient pays.
The Right Prescription
A word about prescription medicine. It was reported in Mladá Fronta Dnes that one pharmaceutical company had an agreement with some doctors to pay them 300 to 500 crowns for every pack of their medicine that an individual doctor prescribed.
It would be irresponsible to suggest all doctors are guilty of this. However, knowing that it has occurred means you should be wary. Remember, when your doctor writes out the prescription for a given medicine, he or she should let you know about the medicines which can treat that ailment, their cost and whether they are covered by your insurance.
You will have to pay a regulation fee of 30 CZK for every prescription if the region you are in hasn’t subsidized the fee.
Don’t be frightened to ask the pharmacist questions when loading up on medicines. Whenever I’ve asked about dosage and frequency, whoever the pharmacist is will answer quickly. I’ve also found that they will answer questions about side-effects and offer alternatives.
If you have health insurance from one of the public insurance providers, you will find that dental check-ups are covered. There are two check-ups per year. But, usually, your dentist will not contact you to remind you of the appointment.
I suppose since they are your teeth whether you go or not is your business. However, from personal experience the dentist can be quite upset if you don’t turn up.
The check-ups usually involve prodding around with the sickle probe to ensure the hygiene and health of the teeth and gums, localized application of fluoride in a gel form (if necessary) and a digital RVG of the teeth, based on individual need.
It is possible to request above standard care. However, the patient will have to pay the full amount him or herself.
What are your thoughts?