This chapter aims to explain how the bottle of antibiotics found its way to the storefront across from Manuel's home, what consequences for public health follow from nonprescription use of such drugs, and what insights can be gained from the study of pharmaceuticals in medical anthropology. It begins with the international context and then shift attention to the pharmaceutical business in the United States. The chapter includes references to anthropological studies of illicit drugs, but focuses mostly on prescription medications. Medical anthropology has stimulated some extraordinary research on drugs, both licit and illicit, in the United States. The antiretroviral zidovudine (AZT), the first drug to counter the progression of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to full-blown acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), was approved by the United States' Food and Drug Administration in March of 1987. The chapter reviews the political-economy of HIV medications in Brazil.