The science and art that deals with the collection, preparation and
standardization of drugs and medicines. Pharmacists prepare and dispense the
medications prescribed by physicians, dentists and veterinarians.
A brief History of pharmacy follows. References to pharmacy have been found throughout history. Special groups of physician-priests in ancient Egypt prepared remedies in the temples, and in Greece and Rome the role of the pharmacist in treating ailments were separated from that of the physicians.
During the middle Ages, European doctors often filled their own prescriptions but the influence of the Moors brought about the return of separate duties for pharmacist and physician.
The Philadelphia College of Pharmacy AND Science founded in 1821 was
the first college of pharmacy in the United States. Similar
schools were soon organized in
Europe, but universities began to include pharmacy courses in their curricula. The course of instruction for pharmacy was increased from four to five years in 1960;it includes two years of basic training in the arts and sciences followed by advanced and specialized courses and some business classes.
Several schools have adopted a six-year course to earn a doctorate
degree in pharmacy. In the United States, pharmacy graduates must be examined
and licensed by the state government.
Pharmacy also includes the dispensing of
poison, narcotics and dangerous drugs. The laws of the industry are based on
the national pharmacopoeia, a treatise that outlines the purity and
dosages of numerous medicinal
products. Most countries have their own treatise but an international
Pharmacopoeia was published beginning in the 1950s by the World Health
Organization (WHO) of the United Nations. Other volumes and supplements have
been added since then. The WHO's Pharmacopoeia is an attempt to standardize
medicine and drugs used throughout the world and is aimed especially at
countries where there is no national treatise. A number of organizations
specialize in pharmacy. Among them are the Pharmaceutical Society of Great
Britain and the American Pharmaceutical Association, both founded in the
mid-19th century. Internationally pharmacists are represented by the
Federation International Pharmaceutics.