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From beginnings as remote and simple as these came the proud profession of pharmacy. Its development parallels that of man. Among the several characteristics unique to Homo Sapiens is our propensity to treat ailments, physical and mental with medicines. Ancient man learned from instinct, from observation of birds and beasts. Cool water, a leaf, dirt or mud was his first soothing application.

By trial, he learned which served him best. Eventually he applied his knowledge for the benefit of others.


Since humanities earliest past, Pharmacy has been a part of everyday life. Some of mankinds oldest settlements such as Shanidar support the contention that pre historic people gathered plants for medicinal purposes. By trial and error, the knowledge of the healing properties of certain natural substances grew.
When healers at shanidar or other prehistoric settlements approached disease, they placed it within the context of their general understanding of the world around them, which was alive with good and evil spirits. The magical portions for curing were part of the duty of the Shaman (usually in-charge of all or most things supernatural in tribe) The Shaman diagnosed and treated most serious illnesses. He compounded the remedies needed to keep away the influences of evil spells or spirits.


Sumerian Clay

In making of tablets, scrolls have been found as old as around 3000 B.C. Sumerian clay as old as 3000 B.C. has been discovered which is considered to be oldest prescription. It has methods of preparing gum form seeds.

Egyptian Times

When organized settlements aroused in the great fertile valley of Nile and the Indus river, changes occurred that gradually influenced the concepts of disease and healing.

For the Babylonians, medical care was provided by two classes of practioners:
The asipu ( magical healer )
The asu ( empirical healer )

The asipu relied more heavily on spells and magical stones far more than plant materials. The asu drew upon a large collection of drugs and manipulated them into several dosage forms that are still basic today such as suppositories, pills and ointments. The asipu and asu were not in direct competition and sometimes cooperated on difficult cases.

Though Egyptian medicine dates from about 2900 B.C, best known and most important Pharmaceutical record is the Papyrus Ebers (1600 B.C), a collection of 800 prescriptions mentioning 700 drugs. The drugs are chiefly botanical although mineral and animal drugs are also noted. Such botanical substances as acacia, castor bean and fennel are mentioned along with apparent references to such minerals as iron oxide, sodium carbonate, sodium chloride and sulfur.

During the millennium that followed the roots of modern medical profession in the west arouse from Greek civilization .

Beginning in the 7th century BC, the wise and kind Asklepios gradually superseded Apollo as the greatest of the healing gods. At the touch of his hands or of the tongue of his sacred serpent, miraculous things happened. The staff of Asklepios entwined by a sacred serpent gradually emerged as the official symbol of medicine around the world.

On the right hand of Asklepious stood Hygeia, one of his daughter. Her arm entwined by a serpent and holding a bowl thought to have contained a healing poison. And in the earliest records one finds a similar mixed concept of drug or Pharmakon , a Greek word that meant magic spells or poison.

From another period in Greek history the greatest name that is still with us today is that of Physician Hippocrates Known as the father of medicine. He is one of the most important name in the development of Pharmacy as a profession based on scientific knowledge rather than a mixture of medicine and spiritual acts. During this period the word Pharmakon came to mean a purifying remedy for good. He mentioned around 200-400 drugs as well as methods of carrying out various Pharmaceutical processes.

He was a Greek Physician and botanist (first century A.D). He was the first scientist to deal botany as an applied science of Pharmacy . His work De Materia Medica, is considered a milestone in the development of Pharmaceutical botany and in the study of naturally occurring medicinal materials. This area of study is today known as Pharmacognosy
. He explained methods of preparing crude drugs from opium and many other botanical drugs. He developed the art of identification, collection, purification and proper storage of botanical drugs.

He was a renowned Greek Pharmacist and Physician. He practiced and taught both medicine and pharmacy in Rome, his Principles of Preparing and compounding medicines ruled in the western world for 1500 years. He aimed to create a perfect system of Physiology, Pathology and treatment of illness. He wrote 500 books on medicine including numerous drugs of natural origin, formulae and methods of compounding.

It was his tremendous work in the field of crude natural origin drugs that still today his name is associated with that class of pharmaceuticals compounded by mechanical means galenical Preparations.

The most famous of his formulas is one for a cold cream called Galens cerate, essentially similar to that known today.


Twinship of health professions, Pharmacy and medicine is nowhere more strikingly portrayed than by Damian, the apothecary and Cosmas, the Physician They were the twin brothers of Arabian descent .Their twin careers were cut short in the year 303 by martyrdom. They were the pattern saints of Pharmacy and medicine and many miracles are attributed to them

Muslim Era
(Golden Era of Pharmaceutical Progress)

As Western Europe struggled, a new civilization arouse among those who followed the teachings of Muhammad (P.B.U.H).The formerly nomadic people who united into the nations of Islam conquered huge areas of middle east and Africa and eventually expanding into Spain and eastern Europe.

Abbasid Caliphate.
In Baghdad, the first Pharmacy was established in 754 under the Abbasid caliphate during the Islamic golden age. The clear-cut separation of the two professions, physicians and Pharmacist was done in 800 A.D in Abbasid caliphate.

Yahanna Bin Masawayh

He was one of the contributors to Arabic Pharmacy. He Wrote a book Ibn-e-Masawayh which includes 30 aromatics, their Physical properties, method of detecting adulteration (spoil) and Pharmacological effects. Ibn-e-Masawayh recommended saffron for liver and stomach ailments.

Abu- Hassan Ali Bin Sahl Rabban at Tabari

He wrote a famous book paradise of wisdom. It contains discussions on the nature of man, cosmology (study of stars), embryology, diet and diseases.

The first medical formulary to be written in Arabic is alAqrabadin. In it, he gave medical recipes stating the methods Sabur Bin Sahl and techniques of compounding these remedies, their Pharmacological actions, the dosages and the means of administration.

Hw was one of the greatest Physician in Islam But at the same time he was supporter of the art of Al-chemy. Abu bakr Muhammad Ar To a great extent, he influenced the development of Pharmacy Razi and medical therapy throughout the middle ages. He wrote two books named Ar-Asrar and Sirr Al Asrar.

Al Ghafiqi

He was the highly respected Physician in cordova ( muslim spain) an that he was also interested in Pharmacy as well

He was Pioneer in the preparation of medicines by sublimation Abu Al Qasim and distillation. Also he worked on the extraction or urinary Al Zahrawi bladder stones.

Among the brilliant contributors to the sciences of Pharmacy and Medicine during the Arabian era was one genius who seems to stand for his time - the Persian, Ibn-eSina (about 980-1037 A.D.), called Avicenna by the Western world. Pharmacist, poet, physician, philosopher and diplomat. Avicenna was an intellectual giant, a favorite of Persian princes and rulers. He wrote in Arabic. He wrote the famous book Kitab Al Shifa ( the book of healing ). He also described 700 preparations, their properties, mode of action and their indications.

Al Beruni
He wrote one of the most valuable Islamic works entitled Kitab-ul-Saydalah ( the book of drugs ) where he gave detailed knowledge of the properties of drugs and outlined the role of Pharmacy and the functions and duties of the Pharmacist.
He was known as father of Arabic Pharmacy.


Upon this time, Pharmacy remained a function of medicine. But with increasing variety and complexity of compounding, forced physicians to quit pharmacy and focus more on healing.

Frederick-II - Separation of Pharmacy and Medicine

In European countries exposed to Arabian influence, public pharmacies began to appear in the 17th century. However, it was not until about 1240 A.D. that, in southern Italy, Pharmacy was separated from Medicine.
Frederick II, was Emperor of Germany. At his palace, he presented subject Pharmacists with the first European edict completely separating their responsibilities from those of Medicine, and prescribing regulations for their professional practice

Perhaps no person in history exercised such a revolutionary influence on Pharmacy and medicine as did Aureolus Theophrastus Bornbastus Von Hohenheim (1493-1541), A Swiss Physician and chemist who called himself Paracelsus. He influenced the transformation of Pharmacy from a profession based primarily on botanical science to one based on chemical science.

Swede Karl Wilhelm Scheele

He was a Swedish Pharmacist and extracted several plant acids like lactic acid , citric acid ,tartaric acid, benzoic acid etc

Edward jenner
Remarkable advance in medicine and Pharmacy took place in the year 1796 when edward jenner performed the first vaccination on a human patient

Friedrick serturner
He was a german Pharmacist and isolated morphine from opium

Joseph Pelletier & Joseph Caventou

They were French and isolated several alkaloids like strychnine and brucine from nux vomica and quinine and cinchonine from cinchona. Pelletier together with Pierre Robiquet isolated caffeine and Robiquet independently separated codeine from opium.


Need for better intercommunication among pharmacists; standards for education and apprenticeship; and quality control of imported drugs, led to calling of a convention of representative pharmacists in the Hall of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, October 6 to 8, 1852. Under leadership of its first President, Daniel B. Smith, and first Secretary, William Procter, Jr., the twenty delegates launched The American Pharmaceutical Association; mapped its objectives, and opened membership to "All Pharmacists and Druggists. The Association continues to serve Pharmacy today.


Despite the professional skill and integrity of 19thcentury pharmacists, seldom did two preparations of vegetable drugs have the same strength, even though prepared by identical processes. Plant drugs varied widely in active alkaloidal and glycosidal content. The first answer to this problem came when Parke, Davis & Company introduced standardized "Liquor Ergotae Purificatus" ." Parke-Davis also pioneered in developing pharmacologic and physiologic standards for pharmaceuticals.


As the scientific basis for drugs and drug products developed so did the need for uniform standards to ensure quality.
This need led to the development and publication of monographs and reference books. Organized sets of monographs or books of these standards are called Pharmacopoeias and formularies.

The "United States Pharmacopoeia" (1820) was the first book of drug standards from a professional source which achieved a national acceptance.


When, in 1894, Behring and Roux announced the effectiveness of diphtheria antitoxin, pharmaceutical scientists both in Europe and in the United States rushed to put the new discovery into production. Parke, Davis & Company was among the pioneers. The serum became available in 1895, and lives of thousands of children were saved.


One of the successful researchers in the development of new chemical compounds specifically created to fight disease-causing organisms in the body was the French pharmacist, Ernest Francois Auguste Fourneau, who for 30 years headed chemical laboratories in the worldrenowned Institute Pasteur, in Paris.
His early work with bismuth and arsenic compounds advanced the treatment of syphilis.

He paved the way for the life-saving sulfonamide compounds, and from his laboratories came the first group of chemicals having recognized antihistaminic properties. His work led other investigators to broaden the field of chemotherapeutic research.

Research in some form has gone hand in hand with the development of Pharmacy through the ages. However, it was the chemical synthesis of antipyrine in 1883 that gave force and inspiration for intensive search for therapeutically useful compounds. Begun by the Germans, who dominated the research field until World War-I, thereafter the lead was transferred to the United States. Research in Pharmacy, came into its own in the late 1930's and early 1940's, since than it has grown steadily, supported by pharmaceutical manufactures, universities, and government. Today it is using techniques and trained personnel from every branch of science in the unending search for new life-saving and life-giving drug products


Pharmaceutical manufacturing as an industry apart from retail Pharmacy had its beginnings about 1600, really got under way in the middle 1700. It developed first in Germany, then in England and France. In America, it was the child of wars - born in the Revolution, grew rapidly during and following the Civil War, became independent of Europe during World War-I, came of age during and following World War-II.

Utilizing latest technical advances from every branch of science, manufacturing of Pharmaceuticals is developing and producing the latest and greatest drugs in immense quantities, so that physicians any where may prescribe them and pharmacists dispense them for the benefit of all mankind.


Antibiotics are not new. Their actions probably were first observed by Pasteur in 1877. However, the second quarter of the 20th century marked the flowering of the antibiotic era - a new and dramatic production of disease-fighting drugs. Fleming's discovery of penicillin in 1929 went undeveloped and Florey and Chain studied it in 1940 Under Pressure of World war-II the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers rapidly applied mass production methods to penicillin. Antibiotic discoveries came rapidly in the '40's. Intensive research continues to find antibiotics that will conquer more of men's microbial enemies.


Pharmacy, with its heritage of 50 centuries of service to mankind, has came to be recognized as one of the great profession. Like Medicine, it has come through many revolutions, has learned many things, has had to discard many of its older ways. Pharmacists are among the community's finest educated people.. Pharmacy's professional importance will continue to grow in the future as this great heritage and tradition of service is passed on from preceptor to apprentice, from teacher to student, from father to son.

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