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Title: ADHD Medications in Xiamen - An Overview

It's more difficult to get ADHD medications in Xiamen than cities with major international clinics. As of posting only one hospital in Xiamen--Xianyue Mental Hospital--carries an ADHD medication (Concerta and only Concerta, to my knowledge). Here are the procedures for people who are coming to Xiamen with *a verifiable history of responsible, legally prescribed usage under the guidance of a physician* and a few suggestions.

Procedures:

1. Go to the hospital on a weekday (I go mornings and can't vouch for afternoons). You don't need an appointment, but you do need: passport, your Chinese address, at least 100 rmb, evidence of prior prescription for ADHD medication (ideally), and, a Chinese colleague (ideally).

2. Go the intake window on the ground floor and receive a payment/ID card* (10 rmb) and fill out an outpatient medical record sheet (5 mao). Put 100 rmb on the card. It will cost 20 rmb to see the outpatient doctor and about 60 rmb for the medication (you only get three days' worth--see below).

3. Go up the escalators to the second floor, turn right, go to the end of the hall, turn left. You will see a 'help desk' podium and someone--usually a young woman in a dark blazer--will be standing behind it. If she's not standing behind it, she'll be back in a few minutes.

Tell this lady the reason for your visit. She will make sure you see a doctor who can prescribe Concerta. I was told that only ~30% of the outpatient doctors there are thusly authorized (hence why you don't go on weekends, when only a few doctors are there). ...She will lead you to a room, where you wait for the doctor.

4. Tell the doctor your situation. If he/she agrees, you will need to sign an informed consent form acknowledging that you're taking a controlled medication. If your Chinese colleague does a lot of interpreting, he/she may be asked to sign a handwritten statement on the back of the form saying that he/she facilitated the translation (as I understand things, this is nothing that would put them on any sort of grid). NOTE THAT IF YOU ARE SUCCESSFUL AN ADULT CAN ONLY GET 3 DAYS OF MEDICATION (children are allowed 14 days).

5. If successful, go back down the escalator, the pharmacy is immediately to your right. Insert your payment/ID card into the kiosk next to the pharmacy. It automatically sends a request to the pharmacy (don't need to press any buttons).

6. Go back across the hall to the intake window and give them your payment/ID card and the prescription--they will stamp/authenticate the prescription.

7. Go back to the pharmacy and look up to see your name on the board**. It's probably already ready--it comes up very fast.

8. Go to the window listed by your name on the board. Give them the payment/ID card and the prescription and receive your medication. A single 18mg pill--NOTE THAT THEY ONLY HAVE 18 MG PILLS-- is about 20 rmb. ... You're done!

9. Followup. Repeat all the steps above, though it's faster, as you won't need to sign the informed consent statement. (Typically, the whole procedure--from intake window to receiving medication--is less than 30 minutes!). YOU MUST BRING BACK THE PAYMENT/ID CARD AND THE OUTPATIENT MEDICAL RECORD FORM. (do not lose either!). It's good to bring your Chinese colleague back this one last time to make sure there are no issues, afterwards you can probably go solo.

*Your job might have issued you an insurance card that you can use instead of this. I opt to not use my insurance card because I'm not sure how the reporting works and I'm not crazy about advertising this aspect of my life to my work colleagues.

**I recommend you give your Chinese name when you sign in (step #2). The pharmacy display board system only allows for two characters and I'm not sure how it would work with Western names.

Other suggestions and comments:

+ For evidence of my prior prescriptions I had only the nearly empty bottle of my last refill (which wasn't Concerta but a quite similar med). This seemed to be fine--they didn't ask for anything else--but in truth I should have brought a piece of paper that listed my prescribing physician's name and contact information.

+ If you are without any evidence, you might consider a trip to an international clinic in Shanghai or Guangzhou. You can explain your situation in your native language and they can prescribe up to 30 days of medication (!) and once that's spent you can take that their prescription to Xianyue for evidence.

+ I actually don't know how much importance they attach to evidence of a prior prescription, but IMO it's probably a rather different situation if you go in there without any evidence whatsoever.

+ Unlike other hospital in China, there's very little wait at Xianyue! You don't need to arrive at 5am or anything like that.

+ Be professional (look nice--business causal--have documents organized, etc.). They are under no obligation to give you anything and if you strike them as suspect they are very correct to refuse you a prescription. Furthermore, any bad impression you make can have terrible consequences for expats who rely on these medications to fulfill their duties at work and home. So please be responsible.

+ If your interest in these medications is merely recreational, YOU ARE IN THE WRONG COUNTRY. Please do yourself, your family, your expat colleagues, and China itself a favor and just go somewhere else for that.

+ For people planning to move to Xiamen, given the 3-day medication limit, you would do well to consider the proximity of your new home to Xianyue Hospital. ...if it's quite far then you're looking at a really tough situation.

~~~~ I am eternally grateful to the two extremely kind members of the WoX community who answered my queries posted in the Ask Forums and reached out to help a stranger and accompanied me to Xianyue.




2017-12-06

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