What happens when you get to Cappadocia for your dream vacation and get sick?

Perhaps you forgot to pack medicine… or you ran out. What will you do?

Or maybe you have heard that medicine is cheap in Turkey so you want to pick some up before you return. Do not tell anyone, but we think this is a good idea. I am not saying we have done it, I am just not saying.
The first step is to find the pharmacy. If you are looking for Rite-Aid or Sav-on, an all in one drugstore, you will join Odysseus on his 10 year journey as they do not have such stores here. Instead look for the glowing “E” which stands for Eczane (pronounced Edge-zah-neh) and translates to Pharmacy.

These are generally small (about the size of a barber shop) and have shelves brimming with drugs with names you probably will not recognize. Do not look for Tylenol or Advil or other brand names. Instead look for the active ingredient name. Paracetamol is Tylenol and Ibuprofen is Advil, for instance.

The store will have some beauty supplies and baby products like pacifiers and bottles. But I am guessing that tourists will not be interested in these. They are generally over-priced and can easily be found in other stores.

Also, you need to know that they are open during normal business hours from Monday through Friday. If you need something in the middle of the night or on weekends, you will need to do a little work as only one eczane will be open in your town. You can find which one by going to any of them. If it is not open, it will have a sign listing which one is open in the front window.

I went by one of the pharmacies we use in Avanos to get some prices for a few basic items:

Opti-Free contact lens saline solution – 355ml – 25TL (This is expensive because very few Turks use contact lenses.)
Paracetamol (Tylenol) – 20 500mg tablets – 1.50TL
Children’s Paracetamol Syrup – 150ml – 3TL
Thera-Flu – 20 tablets – 3TL
Amoxicillin – 16 1000mg tablets – 8.75TL
Ben-Gay – 50g – 4.25TL

(Note: The eczanes have hundreds of medicines for every sort of malady. I just listed a small sample to give an idea.)

As you can see the prices are not so bad, especially for the children’s meds. The pharmacist will most likely not speak anything but Turkish so you will need to know what you are looking for when you arrive. By pointing to the area of your body that is sick, you should be able to make them understand your need.

And you do not have to see a doctor first. If you want an antibiotic, just buy it, no prescription necessary. If you are not comfortable self-diagnosing, then you will be able to find a doctor during the day, just ask your hotel for help. If you are more on the adventurous side, trust the pharmacist to pick the right medicine for you or get the name beforehand from a Turkish friend (hotel managers should be able to help).

My prayer is that you do not get sick while here, but if you do, you do not need to despair. Help is right around the corner at your neighborhood Eczane.