To begin with most residents in Saudi Arabia will refer to a pharmacy as a chemist. For example, if someone needs to pick up some medications they will go to their local chemist. Each chemist will also have a pharmacist or chemist who may or may not speak English. Overall I have found the individual to be very knowledgeable and helpful.
There will be distinctions between the pharmacies in Saudi Arabia as compared to the typical ones like CVS or Wallgreens in the States. In the United States one can pretty much do “one-stop-shopping” at either a CVS or a Wallgreens pharmacy. In addition to all the pharmaceutical materials, medical supplies and drugs, these large pharmacies will have books, magazines, clothes, cosmetics, gifts, household items, outdoor items, sporting goods, toys, groceries and even beer and wine. Whereas the pharmacies in Saudi Arabia will be more focused predominantly selling medical supplies and drugs. Some of the large pharmacies such as Al Nahdi will also have some beauty products and baby products too. But overall the pharmacies in Saudi Arabia will not have the same versatile selections as those in the States.
The pharmacies in Saudi Arabia will not have any medical products such as Nyquil available due its (minimal) alcohol content. Thera Flu is another excellent over the counter flu/cold medication that is not available in Saudi Arabia either. Rather than selling Tylenol, Excedrin, Aleeve or Advil, Panadol is the preferred over the counter pain relieving medication in Saudi Arabia.
Unlike other countries in the GCC region, prescription medications are controlled and do require a prescription from a doctor in order to acquire.
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