Drug overdose!

I don’t get sick often, but when I do, I try to avoid seeing the doctor as much as possible, especially in Hong Kong. Why is this?

First of all, it’s a hassle to expense the bill (yea, I’m that lazy). Second, I still don’t have a doctor to call my own, so it’s always some random wo/man. And third, I have a feeling the doctors here don’t really care about their patients, nor do they really know (or want to know) what the problem is.

What happens then is after your brief consultation, the doctor prescribes a truckload of medications for you to take, each one apparently canceling out the others’ effect. For instance, if you have a rash, you’d probably get:

  • 1 small tub of cream
  • 6 antihistamines for the itchiness
  • 8 slow-release painkillers
  • 16 stomach neutralizers so the painkillers don’t give you stomach ulcers
  • 24 antibiotic pills to kill the germs
  • 9 pills to lift your mood (cuz having a rash probably made you clinically depressed)
  • and maybe even a few panadols in case you suddenly develop some sort of fever. 

It’s like the doctor’s saying, “I don’t REALLY know what you’ve got, but here’s a bit of everything so we hit all birds with (way more than) one stone.” I mean, I’ve never lived in a place where the doctors give you so many pills to take! Back in Holland, going to the doctor was completely useless, since s/he’d just tell you to go home and rest, leaving you weak, empty-handed and helpless to develop whatever you had into its full-blown state (hello, bronchitis!). In Hong Kong though, they do the complete opposite and over-medicate.

I heard though that it’s not just the doctors’ fault. Since patients need to pay a fee each time they see the doctor (around HK$200), they expect to get their money’s worth (read: medicine). So, regardless of whether they have the right pills or not for their symptoms, they take their pills obediently. For me though, the occasional visit to the doctor is not a way to get meds, it’s a way to get peace of mind. As long as I know I’m not dying from some life-threatening disease, I usually take those pills (you get them automatically from the doctor’s office) and throw them out once I get home.

Anyone with me, or do you usually take all the pills your doctor gives you?

6 thoughts on “Drug overdose!

  1. My exact thought, in US, doctors mostly ask you o drink plenty of water and rest when you have a fever, then send you home. In HK, they flood you with little pills.

  2. Similar for me, I usually avoid seeing the doctor here unless I'm feel like I'm gonna die of dehydration from severe diarrhea (it's from all the random food i put in my mouth) or i'm coughing up my lung or something serious like that. Otherwise, I just pop some vitamins , drink some hot lemony flu drink like niquil, drink water and sleep lots.

  3. Having come from the UK, where seeing a doctor was next to useless, I guess I'm in the camp where I'm just overjoyed that I've something to show for my visit!

    I did once have an instance where taking one doctor's pill actually made me worse, but another kindly doctor steered me on the right path. So now I tend to trust second doctor's medication!

    Finally – get well soon! : )

  4. most doctors get paid commission for the different drugs they peddle on behalf of those caring pharmaceutical companies, ethical doctors probably wouldn't give you any drugs if you didn't really need them, but the ones who are looking at an early retirement or a free car (yes, some pharma companies give free cars to doctors who plug their drugs the most!), they're quite happy to load you up.

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