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Author: Subject: Getting reagent grade chemicals from the pharmacy
ampakine
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[*] posted on 29-4-2011 at 12:32
Getting reagent grade chemicals from the pharmacy


I was in the pharmacy today and spotted caustic soda behind the counter so I bought some thinking it would be food grade NaOH since it was being sold in a pharmacy but it turned out to be plain old drain cleaner. No idea why a pharmacy is selling drain cleaner but I'm wondering if I ask them if they have food grade caustic soda for soap making will they order some for me. This pharmacy orders acetone and sodium thiosulphate in for me so I'd say they'll order this for me too. That gets me wondering what other chemicals the pharmacy will order for me. Have any of you tried getting pharmacies to order chemicals for you? I assume they'll only order chemicals that have either a medical use or known domestic use. It was a friend that told me he gets thiosulphate from them and I remember him saying they sell it for analogue photography or something. There is a wide range of compounds used in analogue photography but I can't imagine pharmacies selling chemicals like thionyl chloride over the counter. Then again analogue photography shops do so its not beyond the realms of possibility.

[Edited on 29-4-2011 by ampakine]
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woelen
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[*] posted on 29-4-2011 at 12:47


In general, no answer can be given to your question. It strongly depends on which country you are in. Where I live, you cannot obtain any chemicals from a pharmacy. Many years ago, they quit selling chemicals to the general public, except a few of the most basic ones (e.g. baking soda, citric acid, rubbing alcohol and a few very common others). If they don't have a chemical in stock, they won't order it for you.

In other countries things may be very different. It all depends on what a pharmacy is doing. Where I live they just sell boxes with pre-made medicines, which comes from the big suppliers. They do not prepare and mix anything themselves anymore. For this reason they have no need for any chemicals anymore. I cannot even buy simple plastic containers anymore at a pharmacy, they also have no use for that anymore. If a pharmacy still prepares medicines then you have a better chance of getting certain chemicals.




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m1tanker78
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[*] posted on 29-4-2011 at 12:57


It probably depends heavily on your location. For example, here I can have a pharmacy order 35% hydrogen peroxide for me. There's a catch. It costs $117 + handling (USD) for 500mL and I need a Dr.'s authorization. Other have reported 35% H2O2 being available at 'the corner store'.

As for NaOH, do you absolutely need such a high purity? If not, some drain openers are fairly pure for routine chemical use. Look for the flake variety; stay away from the ones that contain aluminum bits. It's pricey - ~$13.00 for a small can/bottle.

Other chems can be procured at pool supply stores. The one where I shop carries calcium chloride, cyanuric acid, calcium hypochlorite, and a few others that I can't think of ATM.

Tank
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Steve_hi
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[*] posted on 29-4-2011 at 13:22


I buy NaOH at the local building supplies store with no additives its seems to be pure i compared a 1M solution that I prepared with reagent grade that I bought from the chemical supply and it was pretty well the same it was 10$ for 1 kilo.
and a guy from ontario wrote in another forum that his local drug store orders chemicals for him, he mentioned Potassium permanganate. so it all depends where you are and whether the pharmacist knows you or not. My pharmacist questioned me why I wanted citric acid as they keep that behind the counter. He did sell it to me
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theflickkk
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[*] posted on 29-4-2011 at 20:48


Hmm where I live, I can get KMnO4 crystals and Diethylene glycol methyl ether (what can I do with this?), besides the usual acetone and isopropanol that is.
However, I have never been able to find nitrates being sold. All nitrates/nitric acid products have been removed from the shelves D: There's fertilizer with 5% nitrate content by weight though. Seems incredibly low to get anything useful out of it.
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Contrabasso
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[*] posted on 30-4-2011 at 13:32


As ever, there is no real answer. What you can get depends on the shop that you go to.
Hardware stores, pool stores, supermarkets, pharmacies, agricultural stores and lots of places hold chemicals for their industry sector. Some of these can crossover into (y)our area of interest. Sometimes purities leave much to be desired, but that is a problem for all chemists and purification is sometimes difficult. Sometimes products are too easily misused for antisocial purposes for leaving on open sale. Before the days of Permitted/permissible explosives coal miners could buy their own blasting materials fro hardware stores, probably it's a good idea that HE's are not simply open retail now.
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ldanielrosa
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[*] posted on 1-5-2011 at 02:39


It doesn't seem that long ago I could get KNO3 and sulfur at the pharmacy. I think I can get a better price at the agriculture store now than I could get at the pharmacy then (now that I know where to look).

Woelen pretty much said it- we're a point-and-click society now. Too many of can't really cook anymore, or drive a stick, or change a filter. Sad.

You'll still find some of the things that are cheaper to sell pure than to cut.
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ampakine
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[*] posted on 1-5-2011 at 06:57


True it probably depends entirely on what country you are in. In my country (Ireland) pharmacists will order anything that their supplier stocks but at the same time it depends on the pharmacist you talk to. I've had pharmacists tell me that their supplier does not sell a particular chemical but I know this to be untrue because I had the chemical ordered by another pharmacy of the same branch.
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thethule
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[*] posted on 13-5-2011 at 17:31


Well, i remember in the late 80's-early 90's you could get over 50% Hydrogen Peroxide easily and cheaply at the pharmacies in the UK, as well as Potassium Nitrate and the guy round the corner from my house used to order me anything i wanted, bottles of Nitric Acid, Sulphuric etc... Which might not sound that odd, but i was about 15-16 and he was more than happy to sell to me.

By the way, im almost certain that they also sold higher concentration of Hydrogen Peroxide, but i cant be sure. One thing i AM sure about is that stuff burns like hell if you get it on your skin. Which i did, a lot. I was an idiot and almost killed myself many many times...
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prof_genius
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[*] posted on 1-7-2013 at 12:04


I went to a pharmacy in the Netherlands 2 weeks ago and asked for silver nitrate, but the pharmacist said it needs prescriptions etc. :( I can still get basic stuff like diethyl ether at those pharmacies.
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Hexavalent
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[*] posted on 2-7-2013 at 07:55


They'll sell you diethyl ether but not silver nitrate? :o



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Mailinmypocket
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[*] posted on 2-7-2013 at 07:59


Quote: Originally posted by Hexavalent  
They'll sell you diethyl ether but not silver nitrate? :o


Apparently in the Netherlands ether is very OTC!! Here I had to go through hell and high water to find a supplier :S I've only seen very small bottles of "bandage adhesive remover" here in pharmacies that are composed of pure diethyl ether, but at 12.99$ for 30mls? No thanks! What is the purpose of selling larger quantities of ether in pharmacies anyways? Home anesthesia? lol...
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[*] posted on 2-7-2013 at 08:09


Ether in Netherlands is OTC? Why am I not surprised? :D



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annaandherdad
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[*] posted on 2-7-2013 at 08:34


Quote: Originally posted by m1tanker78  
It probably depends heavily on your location. For example, here I can have a pharmacy order 35% hydrogen peroxide for me. There's a catch. It costs $117 + handling (USD) for 500mL and I need a Dr.'s authorization. Other have reported 35% H2O2 being available at 'the corner store'.

Tank


Check out Amazon, they sell H2O2 at various strengths, and no doctor's authorization required. There are various sellers, I don't know about purity.




Any other SF Bay chemists?
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prof_genius
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[*] posted on 2-7-2013 at 09:47


Quote: Originally posted by Mailinmypocket  
Quote: Originally posted by Hexavalent  
They'll sell you diethyl ether but not silver nitrate? :o


Apparently in the Netherlands ether is very OTC!! Here I had to go through hell and high water to find a supplier :S I've only seen very small bottles of "bandage adhesive remover" here in pharmacies that are composed of pure diethyl ether, but at 12.99$ for 30mls? No thanks! What is the purpose of selling larger quantities of ether in pharmacies anyways? Home anesthesia? lol...

They apparently sell it for use with some sort of healing essential oils. It's sad to see the pharmacies no longer make their products in the actual pharmacy but get them from warehouses. :(
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[*] posted on 2-7-2013 at 11:03


Pharmacies usually don't even have reagent grade chemicals. They have "pharma grade" chemicals. Those are the ones certified to lack things like heavy metals, toxins and infectious matter, but their purity doesn't have to meet our needs, though it sometimes does.



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woelen
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[*] posted on 11-7-2013 at 00:00


Quote: Originally posted by prof_genius  
I went to a pharmacy in the Netherlands 2 weeks ago and asked for silver nitrate, but the pharmacist said it needs prescriptions etc. :( I can still get basic stuff like diethyl ether at those pharmacies.
Pharmacies are a crap source of chemicals in the Netherlands. It is nonsense that silver nitrate requires a prescription, he just does not want the hassle of ordering this for you, it does not give him sufficient profit for the work it requires him to do.

Silver nitrate can be obtained from several suppliers and if you look on eBay you frequently find it as well for acceptable prices:

http://www.ebay.nl/sch/i.html?_trksid=p3907.m570.l1313&_...

Keep in mind that silver nitrate is not a cheap chemical, it costs you at least 1 euro per gram, in small quantities it is more expensive.

Diethyl ether indeed is OTC in the Netherlands. Small 100 ml bottles for EUR 4 or so, a liter bottle for EUR 25 or so.

[Edited on 11-7-13 by woelen]




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