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  • Apothecary to Pharmacist

    Apothecary was the predecessor of the current Pharmacist. In medieval Europe people selling wine, flavours and herbs were known as apothecary. The appearance of the first apothecary in history was in Baghdad in 754 AD.

    They arranged and offered drugs to doctors and straight forwardly to patients. Furthermore, they offered clinical guidance and different items. The pharmacists were initially part of the basic food item business, yet from the 1200s, across Europe they started to set up organizations, mutually with doctors. Their job was to supply medications to specialists. Some universities started courses for training of apothecaries from 1500s.

    In England, the Association of Apothecaries was built up in 1617, splitting from the Merchants’ Organization. This gave Apothecaries more opportunity in the sorts of drugs they could sell, including quack remedies and patent medications.

    During the 1700s apothecaries were the most common basic clinical experts. Medical students could turn into a Surgeon Apothecaries. The job of the apothecaries changed during the 1800s and mid 1900s. Progressively they gave clinical care, while chemist’s shops assumed control over the retail parts of selling medication. Thusly the planning of medications became research centre based and progressively industrialized.

    After proper education and training they are known as Pharmacists. They are health care professionals, with responsibilities like ensuring the patients get maximum therapeutic benefits. Pharmacy is a versatile, dynamic, growing & increasingly diverse profession, one which creates an excitement because there are so many opportunities for community service. Pharmacists are the third largest health care professional group in the world and in India there are more than ten lac registered pharmacists working in various positions contributing to the health.

    Pharmacy being a very important profession, the Govt. of India passed the “Pharmacy Act 1948”, to control the pharmacy profession as well as education, and Drug and Cosmetic Act was passed to control manufacturing, distribution & sales etc.

    Earlier pharmacists were looked as dispensers but now they are important link between all the healthcare professionals and patients which take care of the patient welfare and patient safety. They play a vital role in maintaining chain of supply of medications.

    In the current era pharmacists have various roles and responsibilities in different fields, as the area to serve has grown tremendously with time. Now not only dispensing but research and development of new drug molecules and formulations, manufacturing, sells and marketing of medicines, dispensing drugs to patients, counselling patients, serving in government regulatory societies and departments (like hospital, railways, navy, army), academics, digital pharmacy, and also one can be entrepreneur and open a pharmacy or industry (after proper qualification) all these fields are open to pharmacy graduates.

    Pharmacists in industry have amplest of opportunity in departments like production, quality control and quality assurance, regulatory affairs, packaging, R&D, F&D, product development, product transfer. In community pharmacy there are various places to serve community like in hospitals government/ private, in railways, army, navy and other government departments.

    A pharmacy graduates can also work in Drug Control Department in various sections involved in regulating various aspects of industry, trade and marketing. Drug inspectors, Assistant Drug Controllers & Drug Controllers carry out inspections for clinical trial approvals, market approval, manufacturing approvals.


    In this article we can see the journey of a pharmacist from a regular merchant (Apothecary) to a drug seller and from a drug seller to a trained professional with multiple skills and jobs. It is a very respectable job one can enjoy in terms of satisfaction & money also it satisfies your thirst to serve society.

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