COSTA BLANCA tourists are returning home with more than the usual souvenirs; increasingly they take back non-prescription medication that is cheaper in Spain than in the UK or northern Europe.
Over-the-counter generic ibuprofen and paracetamol are favourites as they cost between €2 and €3 a pack and come in large doses, compared with around €6 in the UK.
Ventolin inhalers at €3.90 instead of €12 are another bargain, while Reflex is another best-seller with Britons.
Steroid creams, blood pressure and diabetes medication as well as the contraceptive pill are also much in demand, said Costa Blanca pharmacists.
Pharmacy bargain hunts are not limited to the British, as Scandinavians and the French are equally good customers, according to the sector.
In the most popular resorts during the winter months, 50 per cent of a pharmacy’s customers can be long-stay foreign visitors who later stock up with medicines for themselves or their families when returning home.
To prevent these from being resold, purchases are often limited to four or five of the same item at a time, one Calpe pharmacist commented.
In the summer the proportion of foreign customers soars to 80 per cent for frontline chemists who also notice a difference in their clients’ needs, especially amongst younger tourists.
“What they ask for most are suntan lotion, hangover cures, rehydration drinks and anti-nausea pills,” one said.