Antonio the pharmacist: We want to be Rome’s first Italian pharmacy to sell Chinese medicine
Among hundreds of roads in Rome, one is particularly famous. It is Via del Corso. This road has a history of over 200 years. Yet the buildings are the same. Thousands of tourists and travelers come to Rome to visit. When they pass down this road, they also pass by 69-year-old Antonio Sacchetti’s pharmacy — Farmacia San Giacomo.
“I bought this place in 1957, but the pharmacy has existed since 1814,” said Antonio, adding that it was the same year that France’s Napoleon Bonaparte lost the throne.
Yet the Farmacia San Giacomo survived it all and remains untouched. By adapting to new technologies and research of herbs and their uses, this little shop has thrived.
For example, Farmacia San Giacomo is the only pharmacy that offers homeopathic therapy in Rome. Now, they are trying to develop a new product using Chinese herbs that can help people with minor headaches and improve general health.
Antonio is optimistic that the Chinese herbal products would enjoy similar success to the other products he already sells worldwide, particularly with his Chinese customers.
“We have a lab in the pharmacy, with a team of 40 people. The products we make are selling all over the world,” said Antonio, proudly.
I hope to build a Chinese herbal department in our pharmacy and name it as FARMACINA, which is a combination of farmacia and China –Antonio
“If this is successful, we will become the first pharmacy to sell products with Chinese herbal ingredients,” he added. “Our research team has been developing it for months now and we should be able to make it work next month.”
Almost a third of his customers are Chinese tourists, he added. “To help give them a better and more convenient shopping experience, we brought in Alipay.”
Antonio hopes his new product with Chinese herbal ingredients will be accepted by both Italians and Chinese. “I hope to build a Chinese herbal department in our pharmacy and name it as FARMACINA, which is a combination of farmacia and China,” he quipped.
“In Italy, some people do not believe in Chinese herbal, because they think it is not based on science. But there are other people like me, who believe good health comes along with healthy food and inner peace,” Antonio said.
“I believe there is a reason traditional medicine has existed for thousands of years. Traditional Chinese and Indian medicine, India medicine, all have their own ways of understanding the human body and curing ailments.”
Now, Antonio’s 29-year-old daughter Camilla has started to help with the family business. Together, they are making this 200-year-old pharmacy a modern shop connected to the world.
“I’ve chosen this life path as my parents taught me the passion and love for this job, making a lot of sacrifices for our family and for the community,” Camilla said. “They also showed me the importance of helping people to improve their lives in natural ways.”