Skip to main content


When I was taking the picture of the temperature display outside one of the chemist's here in Ciudad Rodrigo for the post below I saw the usual notice to say which was the duty chemist today and it caused me to ponder on the differences between Spanish chemists and their Brit equivalent.

There are no multiple chemists in Spain, the phramacist must own and run their own business. If a place is large enough to have a pharmacy (and there's some legal stipulation about how big a town has to be to warrant a chemist and how many chemists there can be for such and such a population) then there is guaranteed 24hr a day cover. I suppose if there's just one farmacia in a small town then the pharmacist can expect a lot of interrupted nights! This licensing of chemists shops, as distinct from the licensing of the pharmacists themselves, has been getting more controversial recently as newly trained pharmacists are angry about the difficulty of opening their own business when so many operating licences are handed on in a "father to son" manner. This exclusivity also has an effect on the prices of medicines.

I understand that the training for pharmacists here is pretty thorough and that their qualifications are much more akin to those of a British GP than a British pharmacist. Certainly they seem to know their stuff and they usually seem kitted out to arrange for lots of the sort of tests that we would expect a doctor to provide.

The prescription drugs that they sell are pretty cheap by UK standards and, although you're not supposed to be able to get prescription drugs without a scrip that's not actually the case - usually they'll hand over anti biotics and what not without any fuss. If you have a scrip the drugs are 60% subsidised by the Social Security system. Whilst proper drugs are cheap the semi serious and flim flam stuff is exorbitantly priced. Medicines such as headache tabs, throat lozenges, haemorrhoid cream and cold and flu remedies aren't available in the local supermarket, newsagent or petrol station and can only be bought from a chemists. It can be a shock to the wallet.

Oh, and something else vaguely related. If I needed immediate medical treatment in the UK I would search out an emergency unit whilst the Spanish would go to an urgency unit (Spanish has both words - emergencias and urgencias.) I asked a Spanish pal why the distinction and he told me that only a medical professional could say for definite whether something was a medical emergency or not whereas anyone could decide that something was urgent.


Popular posts from this blog

Combining my blogs

This blog is now dormant. It records our time in the beautiful city of Ciudad Rodrigo but it's a while since we've lived there. We now spend part of our time in Cartagena, Murcia and a part in Culebrón, Alicante.

If you would like to gave a look at what we're up to now just click on one of the tabs at the top of the page.

That's it

Done. Finished. I'm just about to disconnect the computer and that will be it. We managed to get everything in the cars, tomorrow morning we'll dope up Edu and then all we have to do is to drive across Spain. The Culebrón link below will be in use for the next few weeks before we move on to Cartagena in September. Click on the links below.
So this blog is dead. Ciudad Rodrigo is history. Culebrón for the summer and then Cartagena.
The story continues .......

Missed something else

This morning, as I cleaned my teeth, I heard hooves in the street. I didn't bother to rush out. I took my time, I put on my boots and strolled out to buy fags and a paper. There were signs of horses or mules or donkeys having passed down the street. When I came out of the fag shop I noticed a fair sized crowd by the Fat Tree but the fun was over, the crowd was drifting away and I didn't have my camera anyway.
I've just checked the town web site and it says that The Brotherhood of Our Lady of the Peña de Francia, having been blessed by a local chaplain, set out on a Romeria (a sort of pilgrimage) from the town today heading for one of the highest peaks in the area - the Peña de Francia. They won't get there till Sunday as it's some 50km from here.