Pharmacy Product Info

Monday, October 30, 2006


Apothecary is a name for a medical practitioner who formulates and dispenses materia medica to physicians, surgeons and patients - a role currently served by a pharmacist.

In addition to pharmacy the apothecary also offered common medical advice and a range of services that are now performed exclusively by other specialist practitioners, such as surgery and midwifery. Apothecaries often operated through a sell shop, which in addition to ingredients for medicines, would also trade tobacco and patent medicines.

In its study of herbal and chemical ingredients, the job of the apothecary may be regarded as a precursor of the new sciences of chemistry and pharmacology, previous to the formulation of the technical method.

From the 15th century the apothecary gained the position of a skilled practitioner, but by the conclusion of the 19th century the medical professions had taken on their current institutional figure, with defined roles for doctors and surgeons, and the function of the apothecary was more narrowly conceived as that of dispensing pharmacist.

In England, the apothecaries merited their own uniform company, the Worshipful culture of Apothecaries, founded in 1617. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson became the earliest woman to gain a medical qualification in Britain when she approved the Society's examination in 1865.

Apothecaries used the now obsolete apothecaries' compute to provide precise weighing of little quantities.


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