by Melinda Gallo

If you can name it, you can have it

Well, my experience with the farmacia (pharmacy) has never been that extensive. I go to ask for simple things, like Vaseline, aspirin, thermometers, and any prescriptions I might have.

I went with my friend Yoshie to her farmacia near her house. I told her that I wanted to get a scattola di vaselina (tin can of Vaseline), which I saw that she had at her house. I didn't want to get a tube again. She told me that she needed to get some hydrocortisone cream for her son who has dry skin.

"Vado a comprarmi Locoidon per Davide." (I'm going to buy Locoidon cream for David.) she told me. All of a sudden, I realized that my sister had left me that same cream and it worked quite well. The name was off by just a few letters, which is quite common in Europe. They seem to change the names of products just a little bit for some unknown reason. I even found out that "vaselina" is a type of product, not a trademark like in the US.

My sister's cream requires a prescription and costs about $30 US. Here in Italy, I only paid about 3 Euros for the tube, which was even larger than the one she left me.

What irked me is that when I went to the farmacia near my house with obvious eczema all over, the woman said I needed a prescription to get a hydrocortisone cream. And here I went to this other farmacia, asked for it by name, and just got it without anything.

I guess they feel responsible if they suggest a medicine. But, if you ask for it by name, you can buy it. It's always nice to figure out the system...even though it's only a little at a time.

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