While driving our daughter to gymnastics she asked if I had any Advil handy, as she hadn’t been feeling well.  She was going out afterwards (well it was the weekend….) so wanted to keep some with her if she needed it later.  Usually I have it with me, but didn’t in this instance so stopped at one of the many corner shops in the city to buy some.

shop with the 'goods'

I looked very briefly inside and didn’t see any on the shelves so asked the employee working at the cash register.  He opened the drawer under the cash register where I noticed a box of Panadol regular (blue box) and Panadol extra-strength (red box).  I told him I wanted the red box, please.

He then proceeded to open the red box and ask how many ‘sleeves’ I wanted.  Somewhat taken aback, I said “one please”.  He handed me one ‘sleeve’, charged me QR 4 ($1.16) and I left the shop, figuring that it was actually better than having to buy the whole box as we had more back at home. It felt strange though.  When buying medications here this had never happened before.  It felt like I was buying some kind of contraband or something. 

I recounted the story to our daughter.  She wanted to know why it would not be appropriate to sell only the sleeve of pills, rather than the whole box?  I wasn’t sure, to be honest, but can only presume it’s because by selling this way the ingredients and dosage are not provided and could therefore pose a danger to the user.  Plus, I think the manufacturer would insist on the package being sold in its entirety.

Regardless, my mission was quickly accomplished and I would chalk up a new experience in the (under)world of the drug trade in Qatar!   I have to wonder was else might be available in that drawer?