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Insulin Availability

October 11, 1987

A couple of comments on Helen Bowles' Sept. 27 letter concerning the availability of insulin preparations in Europe. I am not aware of any drug available in the United States that is not available in some form in England. The cost of Federal Drug Administration testing has engendered the reverse, namely that many drugs used abroad are not available here. The problem is to identify an equivalent drug. They tend to have two names: a manufacturer's brand name which is of little help as it varies frequently between countries; a generic name, which is often the same abroad.

I would agree that the best course is to take an adequate supply of all medications on a trip. In case these are lost, carry a list with the drug name, generic name and the dosage in a separate bag. I have several times had to deal with a distraught visitor asking for "the little white pill for my diabetes."

PETER MARX MD

La Canada

Elsewhere in this issue Dr. Karl Neumann cautions about buying medicines in foreign countries.

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