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Tuesday, 7 February 2017


A pharmacy is a shop where therapeutic drugs are sold. Sometimes a pharmacy is also called a drug store or chemist. Pharmacy is also a a health profession that links health sciences with chemical sciences and aims to ensure the safe and effective use of pharmaceutical drugs.


In the Arabic world, the increasing number of medicinal products arising from the abundance of plants from which drugs could be extracted and more sophisticated methods of administering them resulted in the emergence of specialist pharmacies, or drug stores. The first of these were established in Baghdad in 754 under the Abbasid Caliphate during the Islamic Golden Age.

In Europe during the Dark Ages, the church had increasing misgivings about the study of medicine. As a result, there was a growing division between the professions of medicine and the more acceptable pharmacy. However apart from in monasteries little pharmaceutical knowledge was being preserved. The only exception to this was in Spain, which had been invaded by the Moors in the early 8th century. There, due to the influence of the Arab culture both the pharmacist and the physician were seen as having important roles to play in society.

By the 13th century, public pharmacies started appearing in Europe. Pharmacy had developed to the stage that there are now laws providing for the supervision of pharmacists to ensure they are of sufficient quality.

Pharmacy, tacuinum sanitatis casanatensis (14th century)

The first pharmacy that is still working today opened in Trier, Germany in 1241.

The regulation of medicinal products by officials in the United Kingdom dates back to the reign of King Henry VIII (1491–1547). The Royal College of Physicians of London had the power to inspect apothecaries’ products in the London area, and to destroy defective stock.

Physician and Pharmacist, illustration from Medicinarius (1505) by Hieronymus Brunschwig.

The first list of approved drugs, with information on how they should be prepared, was the London Pharmacopoeia, which was- published in 1618.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society was established in Great Britain on April 15, 1841 for the purpose of advancing chemistry and pharmacy. It conducts examinations for those wishing to qualify as pharmaceutical chemists. The society's first official headquarters of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society at 17 Bloomsbury Square in London.

After 1852 in Great Britain, registered chemists were distinguished from unregistered ones, since when the former have been known as pharmaceutical chemists.

The first edition of what is now known as the British Pharmacopoeia was published in 1864, and was one of the first attempts to harmonize pharmaceutical standards, through the merger of the London, Edinburgh and Dublin Pharmacopoeias. An authoritative work on the preparation, constitution and dosage of drugs and medicines, it is issued by the General Medical Council and revised from time to time.

Since its first publication back in 1864, the distribution of the British Pharmacopoeia has grown throughout the world. It is now used in over 100 countries with many adopting the BP as their national standard

Typical American drug store with a soda fountain, about 1905

At 13 Jesse Boot inherited his father's herbalist shop, and in 1877 he opened his first chemist's shop in Nottingham, England. He began large-scale drug manufacture in 1892, and soon after the beginning of the 20th century was controlling the largest pharmaceutical retail trade in the world, with over a thousand branches by 1931.

During prohibition in the US an exemption was made for whiskey prescribed by a doctor and sold through a pharmacy. The Walgreens pharmacy chain grew from 20 retail stores to almost 500 during this period, between 1920 to 1933.

American Pfizer and Irish Allergan agreed to a merger on November 23, 2015 that created the world's largest pharmaceutical company.


The French government announced in 2000 that all women could get the morning-after contraception pill for free in pharmacies.

In North Dakota, all CVS', Walmarts and Walgreens lack pharmacies due to a law that requires all pharmacies be 51 percent owned by a pharmacist

The global pharmaceuticals market is worth $300 billion.

Lipitor is the best-selling drug of all time. It was introduced in 1997 and its patent expired in 2011, making about $125 billion.

Source Pharmacy Times

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