A Look at the History of the Pharmacist, By Maher Ishak, Woodbury Pharmacy

The local pharmacist has played an important role in communities for thousands of years. Many credit the Sumerians as being the first society with a form of pharmacist. Different from those who diagnosed and treated diseases, these professionals combined plants and herbs to develop medicines. Early pharmacists also doubled as priests, and the occupation appeared in ancient China and ancient Egypt.

The ability to dispense medicines was considered an honored profession among many cultures. However, the term “pharmacist” only first appeared in 1834, in the book The Last Days of Pompeii, even though Geoffrey Chaucer wrote about “farmacies of herbs” in “The Knight’s Tale” chapter of his iconic 14th century work, The Canterbury Tales. To become a pharmacist during these centuries, one needed to apprentice under a trained practitioner. Pharmacy schools did not appear until the early 19th century, and the first one established in the United States was the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, which opened in 1821.

About the Author:

Possessing an extensive history in the pharmacy field, Maher Ishak earned a degree in the subject from Cairo University and performed as a Pharmacist in various locations throughout New York. Currently the owner, Supervising Pharmacist, and Manager of Woodbury Pharmacy in Highland Mills, New York, Ishak continues the long tradition of pharmacists.


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