There are many things that are simply not available here in New Zealand, things that are so common back in California that you can often buy it for a dollar at one of the dollar stores (Dollar Tree, 99¢ Store, etc.). For most things, we try to find substitute items here, but for some items, there simply is nothing equivalent.
Such is the case with Bismuth Subsalicylate (the active ingredient in Pepto Bismol), also known as Pink Bismuth. We checked a few chemists (pharmacies), and none carries Bismuth, nor can they order it anywhere. One chemist told me that she remembers it used to be available, but no longer.
Back in California, we would buy a few bottles at a time at Dollar Tree for just one dollar each. But here, it is not available at any price. Oh, I could order it from someone on eBay back in the USA, but the only seller wants to charge such an outrageous amount of money to ship it here that it ends up costing more than two dollars per dose. We might eventually decide to pay that amount, if necessary.
We’ll keep looking on eBay and other sites to find someone who will sell and ship it to us for a reasonable price. That was our solution for our favorite dry skin lotion, Jergens. We found someone on eBay who sold and shipped it to us for about the same price as mid-price lotions cost in the stores here in New Zealand.
Which brings me to another point: Sometimes, it is cheaper (less expensive) to order something from the USA and pay for shipping and import fees, than it is to buy the same item here. When we were looking at lawn mowers, we found that we could save about a hundred dollars by ordering from USA. However, for the mower, we decided that having a local warranty gave us enough peace of mind to pay the extra hundred dollars.
I don’t suppose any readers in North America might consider buying some Bismuth or Pepto Bismol for us and shipping it? We’d be happy/glad to pay for it.