BAI Award 2014 : Soroche Pills

This years Bad Altitude Info Award goes to Crespal Labs in Peru , for their suggestion to medicate against altitude sickness at Macchu Pichu – which will be the lowest point reached by 99% of Andean tourists . MP peak is at 2400 meters , i.e. similar to cabin pressure on airplanes , and a thousand meters lower than Cusco. The hotels in Aguas Calientes are several hundred meters lower.

Soroche Pills are often described as a local product , with hints on herbal medicine : Incan tradition vs Bad Pharma . This pans out badly when you look at the components :

ASA , i.e. Aspirin

Salophene , which has been discontinued on the rest of the planet for many decades , metabolises in to more ASA and paracetamol/acetaminophen. It was marketed by the German pharmaceutical firm. Bayer in the early 20th century.


Later Bayer became the image of not only bad but Evil Pharma with another discontinued product : Zyklon B.

This years runner up for rubbish non-commercial info is the Norwegian independent drug info site , intended as a guide for prescribing doctors. Their posts on AMS prevention ( høydesyke ) contains repeated mentions of up to five times higher acetazolamide doses than present guidelines – and points to an article from the Norwegian Medical Society journal as source , which says the opposite.


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