Under the Influence

Both in the Netherlands and in the US, I didn’t buy a TV. I’m not a hardcore TV watcher so I can live without one. But I kept getting hand-me-down TV from other people, so I ended up owning the tube anyway without ever buying one.

One main difference I quickly notice during the ads time slot is that in Holland, you’ll see a lot of phone sex ads. I’ve never seen one in the US, even for the late night shows.

In the US, however, it is filled with ads about medicine. From anti-depressant to heart disease to erectile dysfunction, you’ll see so many different kinds of ads on medicines to deal with health problem.

Photo by Ion-Bogdan DUMITRESCU, Flickr

Obviously medicine is a big business, and it seems that people in the US can get prescription drugs easily. One day my co-worker who is in her early twenties told me about all the drugs that was prescribed for her. And it’s not that she’s really sick. She was just having a minor discomfort. I imagine if she went to a Dutch doctor, she probably won’t be getting anything other than the advice to take a rest.

The price range of medicines in Holland is regulated as opposed to in the US. This means that the price of medicines should be cheaper in Holland. However, cheaper price doesn’t mean that they’re easier to get. There are many types of common medicine that are available over the counter in the US but can’t be bought without a prescription in Dutch apotheek (pharmacies).

So if you’re an international student coming to Holland, have certain preexisting health issues, and don’t want to risk not being able to find your regular medication in Holland in the first few months when you get there, you may want to bring some extra medicines with you. You can carry it in your luggage and just in case, also bring the letter or prescription from your doctor with you. That way you won’t be suspected of smuggling drugs 🙂


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