This article explores teachers' and doctors' informal medical exchange practices in the context of the transforming health care system in post-Soviet Russia. Despite the advent of a medical marketplace, most Russians have low incomes and cannot buy the goods and services the market offers. Instead, they bypass the formal market mechanisms (such as obtaining cheaper medicine through personal connections) and official procedures (such as obtaining free or cheaper health care services despite the emergence of paid services) by using their social networks. This paper uses a network perspective to investigate how doctors' and teachers' mutual relations are formed and what resources form the basis of these informal exchange practices. Drawing on structured diary data and qualitative interviews with 20 teachers, in addition to interviews with eight doctors in St. Petersburg, the study goes beyond mere statistics on health care and attempts to depict "from below" the implications health and illness have for survival in contemporary Russia.