April 07, 2007

Yet Another Reason to Buy Off-Brand Products

AS AN ALLERGY SUFFERER, the arrival of spring has always been a two-sided affair for me. On the one hand, I'm thrilled the godforsaken and wretched season of winter will be held at bay for as long as seven months. But on the other, I know the April thaws and later sunsets mean the true horror of springtime -- weeks of sinus inflammation and congestion -- are soon upon me.

Like many sufferers, I rely on an extensive and expensive cocktail of over-the-counter medicines to get me through this dreaded malaise. I also have my "favorite" medicines, which have become so primarily because they work better than others on the shelf. Well, not the shelf, actually, because the medicines I like still have psuedoephedrine in them. I have this issue about the medicines actually working.

Anyway, as a result, the Government requires me to stand in line at the pharmacy, present my papers to the pharmacist, and have my personal details written in a logbook that in theory the authorities could easily scan. Only after all that am I allowed a small box of medicine containing the ingredients that actually work. This is because the Government considers suffering from allergies prime facie evidence that one cooks up methamphetamine in his backyard. Thus, I'm not allowed to buy two or three boxes of medicine at the same time. Nor am I permitted to apply for an exemption on the grounds I still have all my teeth and my gums aren't gangrenous.

A side effect of this Government policy is that the medicines I like may not always be available. This is because they're placed on a high shelf behind the pharmacy counter and if the medicine one wants isn't there, one is -- to use the technical term -- generally shit out of luck. So you can imagine my discontent one recent day when I noticed my favorite medicine -- which we shall refer to as the green box -- was not apparently in stock at the pharmacies at which I went shopping.

However, this also prompted to make a startling discovery, which was that the stuff in the green box apparently wasn't all that unique after all. Upon scouring the pharmacy's aisles for a substitute, I was able to compare the active ingredients in many medications, and to my horror and chagrin found the active ingredients in the green box were identical to those in a medicine from the same company that we'll call the red box.

While this DID allow me to acquire the medicine I needed, I was furious with myself for not having realized this dodge earlier, as I could have saved myself time and trouble by not searching for the green box. Also, as a notorious cheapskate, I was infuriated that I had wasted money on the products, when I probably could have gotten a cheaper generic. So I'll hopefully get over this misplaced loyalty and save time and money in the process; or at least make it until June, when I'll be sound as a pound again.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at April 7, 2007 01:00 PM | TrackBack
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