Marketing Medicine

Authored by: Anita Hardon , Lenore Manderson , Elizabeth Cartwright

The Routledge Handbook of Medical Anthropology

Print publication date:  May  2016
Online publication date:  May  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138015630
eBook ISBN: 9781315794198
Adobe ISBN: 9781317743781


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Over-the-counter medications (OTCs) are commonly sold in tiendas (corner stores/bodegas) across El Alto, the city that spreads out above La Paz, on Altiplano, Bolivia. In these small shops, residents purchase medicines by the pill, not the bottle. At times, these OTCs are mixed with remedios caseros (home remedies) to improve their potency. Shop owners explained that they purchase the meds in the mercado negro (black market) down in La Paz. When a neighbor told me he was going to restock his supply, I asked to accompany him to see for myself. This photo was made during that visit: stall after stall of medicines lining the street, at which one can purchase common items like paracetamol, Vicks Formula 44 and Alka Seltzer, made in Brazil, Perú or Chile.

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