Pharmacy technicians are an essential part of the pharmacy team, personally assisting pharmacists and helping to complete and facilitate daily tasks. Working under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist, pharmacy technicians can be found in a variety of locations like retail, community, or hospital pharmacies. Some of the things that a pharmacy technician will do are dispense medications, instruct patients on the use of medical devices and prescription drugs, and potentially also perform a variety of administrative duties like reviewing prescriptions and ensuring that payment is received.
However, pharmacies, pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians haven’t always been exactly the same. Over the years, and even centuries, much has changed in the pharmacy field. We gathered some interesting facts and stories from pharmacy history to share with you!
Founding Father of pharmacy & country
Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the United States, is often also considered one of the founding fathers of pharmacy. He played a part in establishing one of the first public hospitals and hospital pharmacies in the United States.
Colonial hospital & pharmacy turned modern
The hospital and pharmacy that Benjamin Franklin was a part of establishing in the Colonial United States was founded in 1751 in Pennsylvania. Now called the Pennsylvania Hospital, it still helps patients in the Philadelphia area.
No wonder she knew so much about poisons…
Agatha Christie, famous British crime novelist, spent much of her career in the healthcare field. She began by working as a nurse before getting a job as an apothecary’s assistant. As an apothecary was the predecessor of a pharmacist, the assistant would be what is now called a pharmacy technician! With her pilot husband gone much of the time, Christie needed something to occupy her time, and she filled it with learning so much about pharmaceuticals that she used some of her knowledge in her novels!
Civil War veteran turned inventor
John Pemberton, an Atlanta, Georgia pharmacist and the 1886 inventor of Coca Cola, was a soldier that had been injured in the Civil War. In an effort to cure his nervousness, headaches, and other symptoms of his post-injury morphine addiction, he set out to create a non-alcoholic drink that he then mixed with soda water. Right after completing the beverage, he carried it down the street to a local pharmacy where it was quickly announced as a success and put on sale.
Drugstore flavored soda?
Another pharmacy technician, Charles Alderton, invented Dr Pepper in Waco, Texas in 1885. He loved the drugstore and the way it smelled, so he decided to make a fountain drink that tasted the way that it smelled – and Dr Pepper was born!
Accidental (but delicious!) success
A third pharmacist responsible for inventing a famous beverage was James Vernor of Detroit, Michigan. Vernors was created partially by mistake as its inventor was working on a concoction to help relieve stomachaches when he was called to the Civil War in 1862. When he came back from the war, he discovered that the barrel he had left was filled with a delicious beverage. After perfecting his process, Vernor first made his new drink available to the public in 1866.
The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London
The first recognized pharmacy organization in the western world was begun by King James I. It began as a group of apothecaries. Apothecaries were the early pharmacists that made and prescribed remedies throughout the community. They also offered medical advice to community members. These early healthcare professionals made themselves a central part of the medical world thanks in large part to the support of King James I.
Here’s your prescription… on a scroll…
Some of the oldest pharmaceutical records have been found in Egypt. They hold information on hundreds of prescriptions and medications. These records date back to around 1500 B.C. and are called Ebers Papyrus.
Do you want to be a part of this exciting pharmacy story? Our Pharmacy Technician program may be the perfect fit for you! Check it out on the pharmacy technician program page today!