Ancient Chinese Secret – Part 3

Chinese Pharmacy

My local Chinese Pharmacy

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.

Fond memories!

Self Serve Rx Records

Searching through Self Serve Rx Records

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!

Follow-Up Consult

Follow-Up Consult

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.


  1. You have done a great job of giving us perspective. Thanks! I too am a son of an independent pharmacist and grew up searching for old prescriptions at Avalon Drug in Houston. No self serve searching then. Where was the pharmacy where your dad worked?



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s