Buying prescription drugs in Ecuador without a prescription is very easy to do. I’m sure that sounds confusing but I’ll explain. With the exception of narcotics and some pain medications you can get just about any pharmaceutical drug at an Ecuador pharmacy without a prescription.
In the U.S. you can get two types of drugs at a pharmacy, over the counter drugs ( OTC) and prescription drugs (Rx). In Ecuador, with few exceptions, everything can be considered over the counter (OTC) here and doesn’t require a prescription.
This can come in real handy for both residents and tourists. If you know what you need you can just skip the doctor visit, and go to a pharmacy and buy what you need.
Generic Drugs in Ecuador
For most of the 1990’s I worked in management for a generic pharmaceutical manufacturer in the U.S. After that I was a pharmaceutical machinery dealer for more than 10 years. It’s an industry I know well.
Most of the pharmaceutical drugs available in Ecuador are generic drugs. This is great because they’re much cheaper than branded drugs and are exactly the same as branded drugs.
Many of the generic drugs that are available in Ecuador are manufactured in India. India universities graduate more chemical engineers per capita than any country in the world. Large numbers of these graduates choose the pharmaceutical industry as a career path both in India and around the world. In the U.S. you’ll find immigrants from India working for pharmaceutical manufacturers in every job description, from CEO’s to R&D to machine operators.
I’ve done a little bit of an informal survey here. Some generics here from Argentina (exactly the same generic drug) are slightly higher in price than those from India. So does that mean the generics from Argentina are better? Absolutely not, a generic is a generic and is exactly the same so if you have a choice, buy the cheaper one. They come from other countries as well.
When you walk into a pharmacy here just hand the pharmacist a piece of paper with the drug name, dosage, and quantity wanted. When I say drug name I don’t mean the brand name. For example, Advil is a brand name for a drug called ibuprofen so in that instance you would ask for ibuprofen at the pharmacy here.
In my small survey I found that pricing was about the same among the pharmacies with one exception. Fybeca which is a chain here was about 50% more expensive than the others for the same thing, ouch.
It hasn’t happened to me yet here but the next time I have an abscessed tooth I can just bypass the dentists torture chamber and go straight to the pharmacy and buy some Ampicillin, sans prescription. lol