The US is known as the “Land of Immigrants” and also attracts many non-Immigrants. In 2019, the Foreign Born Population in the United States was 13.7%, Non-Immigrant admissions amounted to 186,200,000. This is the equivalent of one international migrant (net) every 670 seconds.
Non-immigrants come to the US for multiple reasons, including
- Higher education
- Temporary work
- Visiting family
- Exchange programs.
Any international person coming to the US for any reason likely has a few medications that they carry with them from their home country. Medication is considered an integral element of the items to carry whether the travel period is as short as a couple of days or as long as years.
People are accustomed to the medications from back home and would prefer to use the same medications when they are in a different country. Surveys and data have shown that carrying home medication is a high priority for both immigrants and non-immigrants. Even if the person forgets the medication the first thing they are likely to do is either have their go-to medication shipped from their home country or ask their friends or family to bring it if they’re coming to the same country.
Not everyone who comes to the US is fluent in English or understands English. What sources do they have, to be able to find the medications they need reliably?
Here is the list –
- Asking a friend from the same community or an American friend if any
- Go on web and do research
- Visit a doctor and pay the fees
- Get in touch with relative if any
- Ask pharmacist (American)
- Speak to parents
- Connect with a doctor from the person’s home country
All the above options have their own challenges. Not everyone is lucky enough to have strong connections that could be helpful. When you think of these individuals. Would you trust them when it comes to your medication?
Speaking to parents and doctors back in the home country can be difficult and time-consuming. There is often a large time difference to take into consideration and also, one needs to assess whether the parents and home doctor would know the brand names available in the US.
For a newcomer, adapting to a different country takes time. While some aspects of adapting are relatively easy, others are more difficult; in particular, understanding the healthcare ecosystem and navigating the aisles in the pharmacy. This confusion is particularly acute among immigrants and nonimmigrants, especially those who are dealing with a language that is not their native language.
We searched for a solution to this problem that could help both the newcomers to the US and the regular Americans who might be dealing with an unfamiliar condition or something they don’t need to treat frequently, and there weren’t any tools that would suggest the appropriate “away” country counterparts to the “home” country medications.
With the primary aim being to help both newcomers and native born Americans, we embarked on creating a product and gave birth to OTC Finder. OTC Finder, a web application that helps both Internationals to translate their go-to home medications into the most appropriate US analogues, and regular Americans to find the best OTC medication choices for their condition. The functionality includes ability to:
- search, filter and sort results
- compare 2-3 products on a single screen
- find US pharmacies based on location
- option to buy online.
The interface is so simple that it could be easily understood by a layman and there is no need for Google searching! We started with just one home country and chose India as it was familiar and we had access to a large number of Indian people for beta testing. We are in the process of bringing Mexico online as a home country as I write this. So far, the US is the de facto “away” country. The restriction on the away country will be lifted shortly when we upgrade all of our country-pair searches to bidirectional. At that point we will be ready to assist travelers between any of the countries in our database, in addition to newcomers and native born Americans.
We hope OTC Finder will help many people save money and time, and be a go-to product when it comes to choosing over-the-counter medications.
Here’s the link if you’d like to try – https://www.otcfinder.com/