By Pat Moraes
April 26, 2007

São JOSE DOS CAMPOS – In Brazil there seems to be a pharmacy on every corner, and in our downtown area there are often three at a busy intersection. The pharmacy is a great place to seek help and advice for those minor ailments that you might not feel you need to see a doctor for. I have recently received over the counter help (without a prescription) for a bladder infection, aches and pains, and a cough from a cold that I had.

Many years ago, back in late seventies, I was made aware that certain things that we take for granted back in the States, do not operate exactly the same here in Brazil. At that time when I would be visiting Brazil I would often get a case of diarrhea and I would routinely take a drug called enterovioformio. It worked wonders and it was quick. Then I read an article in TIME” magazine about drug dumping in the third world. The drug featured in the article was the same enterovioformio. It was banned by the FDA for its rather severe side effects and fatalities, but the drug manufactures continued to sell the drug in other parts of the world.

This drug is no longer available here in Brazil, but the episode left me with an ongoing suspicion to this day. Each time I get help at the pharmacy, I do a little research on my own to find out exactly what I am taking. First I read the “bule”, which is the insert in the drug package. From this I am able to get the names of the active ingredients. Then I check wikipedia which is an incredible source of information. If I don’t find what I am looking for I have to get a little more persistent in my search…

If you have a headache, muscle ache, toothache, etc, you will most likely be offered Dor-flex, Novalgina, or Anador, all of which contain the same basic ingredient… “Dipirona”. Here is the wikipedia link (Brazil Through Foreign Eyes
Brazil: Follow Up to a Moving Experience
Brazil: A Moving Experience

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