My dog Lula has a rare ailment known as Addison’s Disease. This is a condition where the adrenal gland doesn’t produce enough cortisol or aldosterone. President Kennedy had Addison’s so Lula is in good company. It is very treatable but requires continuous medication. For a couple of years, I was giving her monthly injections and daily doses of cortisone but then the injectable drug went off the market (why does that happen?). So after a long and careful search, the handsome vet came up with a viable alternative. Problem was it was not yet available in Italy. Enter the Vatican Pharmacy.
Italy unsurprisingly has a very lengthy and bureaucratic drug approval process. Since Vatican City is an independent sovereign state, the pharmacy can get access to drugs that are otherwise unobtainable here. Unlike Italian pharmacies, it will also fill foreign prescriptions. As a result it is supposedly the busiest pharmacy in the world with 2000 customers a day. To get in, you need to show your prescription to one of the handsome Swiss Guards at the entrance to Vatican City and get a special pass. The Vatican Pharmacy does not carry any products that are contrary to Catholic social teaching (condoms, Viagra) but it does carry lots of top-brand beauty products at reduced prices. The top selling product is a hemorrhoid remedy and the best selling drug is Valium.