I am the son of an independent Texas pharmacist. As a young boy, I spent many hours behind the counter at our drugstore watching as my father and his partner counted out pills and compounded drugs.
During a recent return visit to my Chinese doctor (and medicine shop), I learned more about how the system here actually works:
First, the queue begins forming at 6:00 AM, each day. We arrived before 7:00 AM and were still #10 in line! Phone reservations are accepted beginning at 8:00 AM (when they open), but only about 10-15 slots are reserved for call-in patients, and only for that day. Those 15 slots are usually gone by 8:10 AM. In other words, the best strategy is just show up…early!
Then, you search (self serve) through the handwritten Rx records (in Chinese, of course) to find your previous prescription – no computerized records!
After a follow-up consult with the doctor, he often adjusts your prescription slightly and his assistants use an Abacus to tally the ingredients (no calculators), then hand scales are used to measure out each ingredient.
Here’s a fun video clip that captures the process:
Almost takes me back to those happy days at Longhorn Drug!
Copyright © Kevin Beaty, YUNEV and “Feet on the Ground…”, 2015. All rights reserved.