If you are going to the SE Asia or Africa, chances are you will need malaria tablets to keep the disease at bay.
But as many things in Britain…they don’t come cheap.
As a tight fisted Yorkshireman, I like to see value for my money and I certainly would be shopping around to find the best value.
But first of all, what is the right malaria tablet for you?
Currently there are 3 malaria tablets on sale:
Discussing which is the best malaria tablet for you with other people will certainly leave you confused.com. Each person has their own preference and their own reasoning why.
That is because there’s no one malaria tablet that’s best for everyone as everyone has their own reaction to a particularly tablet.
What reactions? The most common side effects I hear are vivid dreams, skin irritation to the sun, constant dodgy stomachs etc.
So which is the best one to take?
Larium is a big no no as this produces the worst side effects particularly on the vivid dreams side and I was actually advised by my travel nurse to not even consider it.
Doxycycline, well, the jury is out for this. This does come with side effects but only for certain people. This is generally the cheapest as you take this on a daily basis. Value for me?
Malarone is the one with the least side effects and the most expensive. You also take this on a daily basis.
I was pretty partial to Malarone as I took these in Africa a few years ago. But it’s expensive you may cry out? But I managed to get them free as I was a university student then (see there are benefits to being a student after all!). I didn’t get any side effects at all except for a couple of nights when I woke up in the middle of the night and I was convinced I was sleeping in someone else’s bed. I would nervously pat around me in the dark to feel another body lying there. Hey, I’m not that bad…
Unfortunately, as I’m no longer a university student, it means I would have to PAY for the malaria tablets. Could I go instead for the doxycycline? Well, as I was away with the group in Africa, other people would moan about their various side effects on taking doxycycline..one was complaining of dodgy stomachs, the other would complain of having a skin reaction to the sun etc but the worst reaction I would thought was constant sleepiness.
As a thyroidism sufferer, the last thing I needed was something to make me even more tired. I’m generally a tired person but at least I’m interspersed with moment of hyperactivity! I live for those moments!
After a quick thinkypoo on doxycycline, I decided instead to go to Malarone, a malaria tablet I could trust.
My love affair with Malarone came to a screeching halt when the nurse uttered the price.. £200 + for 88 tablets?!!!
I hyperventilated. Didn’t the nurse realise I’m from Yorkshire?! She should have broken the news gently. Reaching for the brown paper bag, I listened as she said she could offer me a private prescription and I could find a cheaper price if I shopped around. Okay, this sounded reasonable.
I accepted the prescription with shaking hands and blinked in the sun outside as I calmy poised myself for a series of travel shopping. It would be the start of the Great British Malaria Con…
Thinking I could go to Boots, my trusted chain of pharmacy shops, to get them much cheaper than £200 +, I was astounded when they quoted me even more expensive figures!
A series of shops later than included ASDA, Superdrug, LLoyds, I was still no further finding anything significantly cheaper. Until someone mentioned they bought theirs online. Now, call me suspicious, but I generally would like to see the goods before buying them and also, what’s to say that they are malaria tablets? All I know, they could be supplying me with vitamin pills.
But I checked them out regardless. They were much more cheaper. After considering, I decided to go to the shop that sells their malaria tablets cheap online. I was very surprised when LLoyds Pharmacy offered cheaper malaria tablets that was less than £200. So I decided to visit a branch.
But I didn’t tell them at first I knew what the price was, just simply requested the price of 88 Malarone malaria tablets. They came back to me with £200 +. Interesting. I told them I checked them out online and found to be much cheaper. They were at a loss and said that’s the best price they could offer. I argued again saying the price they advertise online must be the same they advertise in the shop. They still wouldn’t offer me the cheaper price. So why are they giving me two figures? What a complete con. Where is the excess money going to? Into the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies or the bosses of the chain?
As LLoyds pharmacy online was the only cheapest place I could find, I reluctantly bought 88 tablets. For 2 months travel and for a week to take afterwards. Their reputation in my view was in complete tatters. If they were honest in the branch stores then I would have come away pleased and would think about coming to them again even if another store may have offered a cheaper deal of £5 etc.
I soon found out this was to be the case for other stores as well.
I felt that this was a con, not only to myself but for british people interested in backpacking. If I wasn’t being such a tightfisted Yorkshireman, I probably wouldn’t have been aware that it was cheaper online. Imagine, the other backpackers especially if they saved up diligently only to find they wasted a whole day’s wages as they find out they could have got a cheaper deal online.
Sort it out pharmacies! Get your prices to match!
This would soon to be in the latest of a series of annoyances against the British Backpackers and ultimately change one of my upheld views…watch this space for a further post…
What malaria tablets did you go for and did you find a cheaper deal anywhere?
A friend of mine who spent a while in SEA actually suggested to buy the Malarone in Bangkok. They’re dirt cheap! I’m considering doing that!
Seems reasonable. I
L see what they will say in Bangkok when I get there in 15 days time! Gonna have a look at your blog now.
Malarone are not available in Thailand and never have been. This is to prevent resistance developing to the drug. Hospital use only.
I had the same reaction when I tried to buy anti-malarial pills in Japan and decided to just buy them in India. They were super cheap there and worked just fine (I think, I didn’t get malaria, so I assume they worked). Just double check the expiration dates before you buy.
My only thought to the online vs high street pricing could be down to the different VAT involved between the two perhaps? Like if you buy a CD online, it’s cheaper (or was) than the high street because of the different levels of tax.
Just a thought. Could be that they’re money grabbi…..I’ll stop there.