I’m going to update my post on 24/7 drug stores in Jakarta and here’s the question: What’s a good pharmacy in Jakarta for hard to find drugs?
Answer depends, really. That’s why you have to try all of them. This process (do it at night or pay the price) also results in important Jakarta drug information that you need, since Indonesian docs aren’t great communicators.
Here are your options in no particular order:
1. Melawai is sexy as a disco with fairly good service and lots of drugs. But they take zero risks and thus won’t try very hard to figure out what you actually need or help with substitutes. And they may require a prescription for things you should be able to get OTC elsewhere. Disappointing really.
2. Century chain is crowded and full of hype but stocks lots of drugs. Avoid everyone but the pharmacist him/herself. The rest are useless. Know exactly what you want and don’t browse. There are a lot of these and so experience will vary. Some good folks in there.
3. Guardian chain is sometimes conveniently located, but generally unreliable or else slightly weird. They don’t like to fuss with prescriptions.
4. Kimia Farma is a necessary evil. They’re gov. owned. So supposedly that’s good for something. But they’re way, way to confident about the sorry, sorry show they run — but often friendly. Have to be in the mood to deal with them.
5. Titi Murni in Central Jak is said to “have everything.” It’s usually the best for filling prescriptions. They know whether or not it’s available. Service leaves a lot to be desired, mostly because they’re understaffed.
6. Apotik Indonesia on the border of S. and Central Jak (Jl. Salak) sucks for no reason. They’ve been around a long time and actually have quite a bit of stuff. But the attitude of the employees is beyond bizarre. It’s like they’re on strike but still show up for work every day. Give it a miss.
7. Apotik Rini in East Jak. Well deserved reputation for being well stocked. Professional in their own psuedo-aloof way. Quite often worth going out there. The wait at ancient mosquito-ridden joints like this one and Titimurni should prove they have more drugs than Century and that’s what customers care about.
8. Pharmacies at the bigger hospitals. Good way to waste a lot of time. Sometimes its the only way to get what you’re looking for. But definitely hit and miss. Still, worth a try if it’s the middle of the night. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if a one-of-a-kind hospital like RS Cipto did have some unique offerings at the pharmacy.
9. No-name, non-pharmacy drug stores (little infrastructure, may appear unlicensed). This is a toko obat and sometimes has what you need. Esp. if it’s an old remedy that works but big pharma hasn’t figure out how to milk it. Eg, tramadol, ie, ultram. Some specialize in herbals or Chinese medicine, which means they may not have basic stuff like cough syrup or whatever you’re looking for.
10. Apotik Senopati. No complaints. Make sure you get their attention and communicate exactly what it is you want and they’ll do it.
11. Skin centers. Is this a good place to look for drugs specially for the skin? Yes, it is.
12. That K24 place. They try pretty hard, sometimes get it right. Pretty new, however. Not my first choice.
So what about everything that isn’t on the list?? Well, appreciate if you could COMMENT about all that stuff and how it works in your area.
One thing I’ve noticed is that unless you’re looking for something totally specialized — body building, Chinese, herbal, openly counterfeit, etc. — then you go to the old, established players or whatever chain seems to be doing the best in your area. The mom and pop shops mostly just survive by selling cough syrup to new parents.