International Academy for the History of Pharmacy

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                          (                                                                         Meetings

History celebrated and discussed
More 300 delegates from 23 countries attended the 37th International Academy for the History of Pharmacy congress. The plenary lectures covered
the development of pharmacy in Great Britain. Peter Worling reports

Left to right: Esteban Moreno Toral (Spain), Stuart Anderson (Great Britain), Olivier Lafont (France), Christoph Friedrich (Germany),
Patrizia Catellani (Italy), Geoff Miller (Australia), Leif Eklund (Sweden), Greg Higby (USA) and Szabolcs Dobson (Hungary)

                                                                                                                           Guild of apothecaries

      epresentatives from nine countries             the resources available to the pharmaceutical
      addressed the question, “what can              historian. The museum of the Royal                                    Edinburgh did not have a guild of
      universities and national history of phar-     Pharmaceutical Society is an heirloom to be                           apothecaries because the apothecaries,

                                                                                                       Congress in brief
macy societies do to develop sustainable             handed down to future generations of phar-
                                                                                                                           who were few in number, were constantly
activities in pharmacy history?”.The situation       macists, said Bryony Hudson, keeper of the
differs from country to country, with some           Society’s museum collections. The museum                              frustrated in their efforts to expand their
schools of pharmacy including significant his-       was founded in 1842 and its historical ob-                            role by the Incorporation of Surgeons and
tory of pharmacy in their curricula, but             jects now number about 45,000.This collec-                            the physicians, according to Peter Worling,
others none.There was a consensus that phar-         tion is one of the most important in its field.                       a past-president of the British Society for
macy students need to understand the impor-              Also speaking at the congress were Diane
tance of pharmacy history to help them               Wendt and Eric Jentsch of the Smithsonian                             the History of Pharmacy. Dr Worling
understand the place of pharmacy in society,         Institution, Washington, who gave delegates                           explained how surgeons and physicians
and show them how history and historical             an insight into the wealth of materials that                          were active in protecting their monopoly
methods have contributed to health policy.To         have been preserved in the US and which are                           from any encroachment. Only after a
this end, bodies that determine the curricu-         available for research in pharmacy history.The
lum of pharmacy degrees need to be                   National Museum of American History,                                  long series of disputes were all 15
convinced of the value of teaching pharmacy          Washington DC, has the largest collection of                          Edinburgh apothecaries admitted as
history.                                             artefacts related to the history of pharmacy in                       members of the Incorporation of Surgeons
    National history of pharmacy societies can       the US.                                                               in 1721.
do much to support the process. They can                 Two collections were described.The first is
lobby pharmacy curriculum authorities, pro-          from the G. W. Aimar Drug Co, a large
vide lecturers where schools of pharmacy do          wholesale drug company that was established                           Pharmacy and the welfare state
not have staff to teach the subject and suggest      in the port of Charleston in 1850.The second                          The arrival of the welfare state defined
a syllabus for a history of pharmacy course.         is Tuppers Pharmacy, an American drug store                           the core activities of community
They can also help with historical methods,          that was established in Summerville, a subur-                         pharmacy, said Stuart Anderson,
signpost historical sources and encourage            ban community north west of Charleston.
involvement in history of pharmacy research          Both speakers emphasised the importance of                            president of the British Society for the
by providing scholarships and prizes.                the collections not just as a history of the                          History of Pharmacy. It shaped
    Museums play a key role in recording his-        profession, but as a reflection on the customs                        pharmacists’ education and training and
tory and a series of papers was presented on         of the times.                                                         set the level of future prosperity. In 19th
                                                                                                                           century Britain there was little support for

500 years of the Royal College of Surgeons                                                                                 those who fell on hard times. Some
                                                                                                                           belonged to mutual organisations such as
The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh               The college claimed historic rights to                            friendly societies and trade unions, and
celebrated its 500th anniversary at the con-         practise pharmacy. These rights were chal-
gress. The determination of fellows to main-         lenged by the apothecaries in the late 17th                           the “poor law institutions” provided a last
tain the role and the status of the college,         century, but they were restored by a patent                           resort to the destitute. The local
particularly at times of threat, as well as          granted by William and Mary in 1695. One of                           chemist and druggist offered a
advancing developments in surgery, has               the provisions of the patent gave the college                         cheap and accessible option,
played a significant part in ensuring that it        exclusive rights to brew “aqua vitae” (brandy).
continues at the forefront of surgical teach-        The evolution of the profession of pharmacy
                                                                                                                           Dr Anderson said.
ing, according to Peter Jones, a pharmacy            settled the dispute and there were strong links
consultant.                                          between pharmacy and the college.
                                                         The college has recently introduced             38th meeting
         The 37th International Academy for the      specialty training in medical informatics,          The next International Academy for the History of
         History of Pharmacy congress was held       sport medicine and immediate medical care.          Pharmacy meeting will be held in Seville, Spain,
         at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland,   The next stage could be the introduction of a       from 19–22 September 2007
         from 22 to 25 June                          virtual college.                                                                                                   9 July 2005 The Pharmaceutical Journal (Vol 275) 61