In 1895, a Portuguese man opened Macao’s first Western pharmacy, housing it in a two-storey European building in the centre of the city. More than a century later, the shop is still serving customers and is part of one of the city’s biggest providers of medical services. The Farmacia Popular (FP) stands in a 400-year-old building close to the water fountain and the Central Post Office in the historic centre of Macao, part of the World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO in 2005. This location and the service it has given over the last 116 years have earned it a place in the hearts of Macao people. It has ten branches across the city, in a market that has exploded over the last five years. (...)
The first shop was opened in 1895 by Henrique Nolasco da Silva, the son of Pedro and a member of one of the most prominent families in Macao. Born in 1842, Pedro married an English woman in 1868 and went on to become president of Leal Senado (Municipal Council). He was a member of the Government Council, chairman of the Holy House of Macao, and founded the Commercial School. Henrique trained as a pharmacist in the Portuguese colony of Goa and returned to Macao to open the business. Initially, most customers were the expatriate community. The local population relied instead on Chinese doctors and Chinese medicine. Gradually, Western drugs were accepted by the Chinese population, and the market grew. FP was the first pharmacy in Macao to separate treatment from drugs. Patients consulted a doctor who prescribed medicine which they bought at the pharmacy; its staff sold them the medicine and explained how they should use it and the possible side effects. Photographs of this early period show the Western pharmacists in white coats and the Chinese staff in long dark gowns. The shop received certifications from the Portuguese government and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce. Henrique died in 1971.
|Família Nolasco. 1925|
Ng said that the firm would keep the original building as a branch. “It is a World Heritage site, in a 400-year-old building. It has had three major renovations – in the 1980s and the 1990s. It has great historical meaning: a symbol of the East and the West.” The two-storey building is painted yellow, with window shutters on the second floor. It occupies a prime site close to the square with the water fountain in the heart of the city. It sells Chinese and Western medicines, medical instruments and health and skincare products. Opposite is one of its competitors – Watsons, a big chain based in Hong Kong.
In 1990, the group opened its first clinic offering both Western and Chinese medicine. Later it opened a second in Taipa. Each clinic has 10–20 doctors, including those from Hong Kong, the mainland and returnees from abroad, and offer a range of specialties. Most of the clients are corporations, who sign an agreement with the group to treat their employees. Henrique, the grandson of the founder, works in the Macao Monetary Authority. “When I walk past the pharmacy, I feel a great sense of pride, of my grandfather’s contribution to Macao,” he said.
Article (excerpts) by Mark O'Neil ("Flourishing pharmacy") - Macao Magazine 2011
A propósito deste tema há já algum tempo perguntei à Prof. Ana Maria Amaro do que se recordava de farmácias do tipo ocidental e chinesas - (cerca de 30) na década de 1960. Eis a resposta e o agradecimento.
"Havia uma firma denominada Lo Pan que importava e vendia medicamentos chineses e outros. Outra firma da família Rodrigues (família abastada de Macau que morava na Praia Grande) também era importadora de medicamentos. Além destas havia duas farmácias portuguesas de "filhos da terra" que também vendiam manipulados de uso antigo portugueses e chineses e, além destes, medicamentos importados. Eram estas a farmácia da Palmira na rua da Horta da Companhia (Nota minha: julgo que se denominava Universal) e a Farmácia Popular que pertencia à família Nolasco. Na Rua 5 de Outubro, onde ficava a firma Lo Pan, havia um edifício que tinha sido restaurante e também farmácia muito famosa com lindíssimas decorações. Ao que se dizia estava abandonada porque tinha ardido há alguns anos."