Third World upsides

I discovered today that there are upsides to being in the Back of Beyond.

One of which is that hard-to-come by medications can be cheap as chips. Or not.


Two examples of the former are Metformin, which is sounding like the new anti-ageing wonder-drug.

At least, Harvard anti-ageing researcher David Sinclair has copped to ( on Joe Rogan ) taking it daily. In his new (audio)book, Lifespan, Sinclair casually mentions that it is available only on prescription ( for diabetics ) in most countries, but is freely available over the counter in some places, such as Thailand.

As some will know, I need all the help I can get in the anti-ageing department. So 15 minutes after hearing this, I was on my scooter down the road to the nearest chemist. Ten minutes and 30 baht later, voila.


The other med which also seems easy to get is GABA, a (legal in most places ) psychoactive pill which promotes stable and relaxed moods and emotions. I ordered this around 10 years ago in New Zealand without a problem.

But the second ( and third ) time it was stopped at customs. We can’t, after all, have happy and relaxed people. The last time, I got a nasty letter from Customs warning me that I’d be prosecuted if I tried again to import it. I didn’t.


In the ‘impossible’ category, though, are nicotine patches, which can’t be had here for love or money. OK, maybe for money – a lot of it. Around 800 baht, so I hear, for a few patches, and only in larger cities.

Smoking is widespread here. It’s common to see blokes on motorcycles chugging away on fags. My guess is that smoking is a money-spinner for the Government, which is thus reluctant to subsidise something to help stomp it out. Case in point : vaping is illegal – they haven’t yet figured out how to tax it.

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