I had a slight Michael Moore moment the other day. Does anyone remember the movie Sicko (highly relevant in light of the US's current health care debaucle) when the 9/11 rescue workers go to Cuba to get affordable medical treatment? The one lady ends up crying (for joy? at the unfairness of it all?) because her $250 inhaler in the US costs like $3.50 in Cuba. Well, I walked into a pharmacy here in Honduras with a package of skin cream from the United States... (available by prescription only, trip to the dermatologist, $200...) that itself costs $200 without insurance for 2 oz. $200 for 2 OUNCES!!!! Well, not only did they provide me with said medication without a prescription, but it was a Honduran-manufactured product with the exact same active ingredient for a little less than $9. For the same amount of product!! All I'm saying is that I'm picking up like 6 tubes of that stuff before I come back to the states for good. I guess it makes me sick that US-based pharmaceutical companies, etc, think that it's ok to screw people over all the freaking time.
However, not everything here is cheap comparatively. Lots of things simply aren't manufactured locally. It's possible to get most food items that are made in Honduras or at least from Central America (usually Guatemala), but there are other products that don't seem to be produced in Central America at all. For example, I haven't been able to find cheap, locally made shampoo anywhere. Soap, sure, but shampoo and conditioner are almost exclusively imported from the states and usually cost $4-5 for a small bottle. There is also a distinct lack of hair mousse. Sad times.
Vitamins are another thing that are sort of elusive. I found one general multivitamin that's been doing the job, but for example, it only contains a mixture of 5 or 6 vitamins (mostly B vitamins and Zinc), whereas most normal multivitamins are a combination of some 30 different vitamins. It also costs about $12 for 24 pills.
On the bright side, many times when you see imported stuff from the US, you have a choice. Why do I need a $4 small box of US cereal (they, of course, only have the really sugary ones!) when I can get a $1.25 box of Honduran corn flakes? Think globally, buy locally :)