Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Health market in Tirana

When in Tirana it is impossible not to notice the large number of medical facilities everywhere in town. Although it may seem an exaggeration, every couple of blocks one may find at least a dental clinic, and a pharmacy. This fact does not surprise me since it's no secret that for years some Europeans travel to Tirana for all their dental care, handled skillfully and inexpensively here.

Now there is also a fair number of foreign hospitals (Italian, Greek, Turkish, American) that have proliferated in the past few years in addition to the state medical institutions. Some of the latest methods of operations and health treatments are available here, for a fee of course, but they are performed by well known, foreign doctors, who offer their services in their own specialties by traveling to this capital on a regular basis.

I am making these statements from pure observation, but also from talks with the many friends I have here that, in the past, could afford to get treatments they felt comfortable with abroad, but now are happy to have choices in loco.

Personally, I have been fortunate enough in my travel and visits to Albania in the past 2 decades not to be in need of any of these medical services, and have done some shopping only a couple of times at local pharmacies, where I always found multilingual, competent, and extremely courteous personnel.

One such occasion happened the other day and wish to mention it since it involved the purchase of a prescription drug, needed due to an extended stay in town. This medication is quite expensive in the U.S., but I discovered that is part of the free market here.

Not only I did not need any medical prescription from a doctor to get it, but I calculated its cost to be 1/5th of what is charged in NY for same. BTW, this was not a substitute or a generic version, but the actual product, by the actual drug company, in its original package, sealed by its manufacturer. It was a real surprise for me, and this reality makes me wonder……

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