Pharmaceutical Compounding History in Philadelphia

Since the dawn of time compounding has been used.  Ancient man learned from instinct when using water, dirt and mud. Trial and error served him when learning to treat himself and others.

In 1729, Christopher Marshall, an Irish immigrant, established his apothecary shop in Philadelphia.  Over the next 100 years, this shop lead as:

  • A retail store front,
  • Chemical manufacturing,
  • Hands-on, practical training for pharmacists,
  • A supply depot during the Revolution, and
  • America’s first woman pharmacist – his granddaughter, Elizabeth

In 1751, the first hospital was established in Philadelphia and began operations in 1752.  Historic figures such as Benjamin Franklin, Jonathan Roberts, and John Morgan, influenced changes and research which led to the development of professional pharmacy in North America. John Morgan was an advocate for prescriptions as a physician and pharmacists.

In 1777, Congress reorganized the Medical Department of the Army, where Andrew Craigie became the first Apothecary General.  His previous experiences as a commissioned pharmaceutical officer in the American army and his presence at Battle of Bunker Hill, gave him direct insight and knowledge to propel the U.S. Army in procurement, manufacturing and distribution of needed drugs.

By 1821, the pharmacists of Philadelphia felt pressure from a deteriorating industry and discriminatory classification by the University of Pennsylvania, leading them to form an association, which became The Philadelphia College of Pharmacy. Both a school of pharmacy and a self-policing board.  A total of sixty-eight pharmacists signed the Constitution of the first pharmaceutical association in the United States.

In 1852, a need for better communication, standards for education, and quality control of imported drugs, led to representatives launching The American Pharmaceutical Association. The Association continues to serve Pharmacy today.

Born in the Revolution, growing rapidly during the Civil War, pharmaceutical manufacturing comes to light. Gaining speed during World War I and II, the latest technical advances from every branch of science are put to use. The pharmacy industry begins mass producing drugs so that physicians can prescribe them and pharmacists can dispense them for all.

Today, pharmaceutical manufacturing is still mass producing but leaving a portion of patients in need. Pharmacies that still compound are able to help these patients with specific dosage, strengths, flavors and working around a patients allergies and sensitivities. With this brief overview, keep in mind there were many other individuals and nations that helped contribute to pharmacy.

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