In Turkey, it is quite popular to buy a common anabolic steroid, Pingmittel, even in destinations with a high level of tourism. In fact, this is one of three substances tourists can get without a prescription, unlike their home country.
For its ability to source some drugs without a prescription, Turkey has become a popular destination for medical tourists. Tourists flock here because, well, medicine is dirt cheap here. Straight from the shelf, a tourist knows that they can from the shelf pick up a headache remedy for only EUR 0.65 a pack; much cheaper than on mainland Europe.
For a tube of Wundsalbe, significant savings can be made. 1.40 will get you a pack compared with EUR 4.11 back in Europe. Similar savings can be found for stomach tablets, even the large packs. For these, a pharmacist in Turkey will charge only EUR 2.66 without a prescription, in contrast with EUR 10.56 in Europe.
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Occasionally, a pharmacist will try to make excuses. They may state that supposedly in Turkey it is simply not possible to obtain medication without a prescription. This type of response is well known to be nonsense, as many tourists are already aware of Turkish pharmacists relaxed attitude to following state regulation.
In Turkey, generally speaking, pharmacists are happy for tourists to acquire medicine without a prescription, as long as they pay the asking rate. As I’ve stated previously, the costs are reasonable compared with mainland Europe, therefore, there really is little concern that the tourists will pay for the privilege. Especially for popular drugs such as Viagra, there is always going to be a sufficient level of demand.
Nevertheless, drugs conveniently bought in Turkey must be declared when re-entering Europe. For customs officials, just one flight arriving from Turkey can create a lot of work. And tourists may experience some of the hiccups involved in importing prescription medicine. To ensure everything is declared adequately, travelers have been known to be subject to a frisking from head to tow. You can almost see the headline now – “Bought cheap in Turkey and paid dearly at customs”.
Because the importation of drugs in XXL format is prohibited, the medicine should be consumed within 90 days. If you are caught breaching these rules, you can be penalised with a fine of up to EUR 5,000 – which is a considerable penalty to pay personally. If you’re going to be caught, you better hope that you got your money’s worth. What’s the reason for the tightening of import controls, you may ask? Turkey is becoming well known for counterfeit medicines, stemming the flow of imports is a way to fight back.
Do you get the intention? After a few minutes of having customs ruffling through your bags, you may wish that you hadn’t gone overboard with your spending spree. My most recent attempt provided to be quite a hassle, as I had packed most of my imported drugs into my large suitcase. When I opened it up to a group of onlookers they had a look of shock on their face.
If you are really keen, you could even try this on your next holiday, but honestly, I wouldn’t recommend it. Stick to the beach.