Pharmacy Life in the Argentine
Axel Alvarez Frati, Pharm.
Life in Argentina varies much according to the state. In general, in the majority of the states of Argentina (called "provinces"), the people are very passionate, expressive, not very strict, very nice and not hysterical at all. But in the capital of the country, the city of Buenos Aires, the people are much more calculating (though they prove to be very nice also) and materialism reigns (many of them are haughty). The houses, departments, and everything what related to the health cost much less in Argentina than in U.S.A. Only the food cost similar: three times less than in U.S.A. Besides a dollar costs three argentinian $ ("pesos"), and the people in Argentina earn several times less money in their jobs.
I earn 1800 pesos monthly as pharmacist in a national hospital. Well, I have a small place to live in the hospital, and this is free for three years (with lunch every day). I am forgetting to tell something: I live in the city of Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, which many years ago was compared with Paris. And the hospital where I work and live is "Hospital de Clinicas".
See an image of it in: http://www.hospitaldeclinicas.uba.ar/ If you want to visit Argentina the tourist destinations abound: Bariloche, Cataratas of the Iguazú, Glaciar Perito Moreno, etc.
Both the big chain drugstores, and the very small drugstores, do not offer the new professional system of pharmaceutical services (with few exceptions). But there is a whole movement of more professionalization of pharmaceutical practice. It advances very slowly. In Argentina the universities are a real “steeplechase” and in some capitals the teachers are very pedantic and excessively strict.
Only the universities of pharmacy of Buenos Aires have arrangement with the big industrial laboratories (the students do practice in the laboratories). In other places of Argentina, the universities are newer, with more new equipment and at times better, and the formation is probably better, but they do not have the arrangements with industrial laboratories (maybe because of distance). The formation still does not point too much at the new system of professionalization of the pharmaceutical practice. The formation is more directed to the production(elaboration). In my university it was giving a lot of importance (excessive? ) to chemical structures.
4) How are pharmacists responding to the challenge to practice with morals and ethics, etc?
Well, here in Argentina, this depends almost totally on the priests and the leadership they provide. If they encourage us, everything goes well. But here there are scanty numbers of centers of priestly formation, where they go away (graduate) with the proper formation necessary to encourage us.
A wonderful exception is: The "Institute of the Incarnate Word" (a Religious Institute founded by Rev. Carlos Buela in Argentina). See in English: http://www.iveamerica.org/ . After my vacation, I plan an interview with the Argentine Cardinal, to request permission to begin an association of Catholic pharmacists. And why not? An Argentine branch of "Pharmacists For Life International" is contemplated. There are several interested pharmacists, but all of them hope that I will take the lead as the organizer.
From Argentina the best desires for the New Year.
Your Argentinian coordinator and friend,
Pharm. Axel Alvarez