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art of compounding and dispensing drugs and medication. The term is also applied to an establishment used for such purposes. Until modern times medication was prepared and dispensed by the physician himself. In the 18th cent. the practice of pharmacy began to be separated from that of medicine. The Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science was founded in 1821, the first school of its kind in the United States. The American Pharmaceutical Association was formed in 1851. The progress of medicine, and therefore the expansion of pharmacy, has necessitated more stringent requirements in the training of pharmacists; it is of vital interest that medications be formulated accurately according to the physician's prescription. Schools of pharmacy are now associated with universities, and a degree in pharmacy follows a four-year course of instruction. Examination and licensing by the state is mandatory.



an establishment for the preparation, storage, and dispensing of medicines and other medical commodities. There is information that laboratories for the preparation of medicines existed in countries of the ancient world (China, Egypt, and Rome). The pharmacy as a government-regulated institution originated in Baghdad in the eighth century. The pharmacy of that period was characterized by the presence of laboratories where comparatively complex medications were prepared and synthesized. It was only in the 19th and 20th centuries that the development of the pharmaceutical industry caused laboratories in pharmacies to lose their importance.

There is no reliable information concerning the time of the founding of pharmacies in Russia. The first government-regulated tsarist pharmacy dates to 1581. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the highest government organ of medical and pharmaceutical affairs was the Aptekarskii prikaz (pharmaceutical department). In 1701, Peter I issued a decree on the organization of private pharmacies in Moscow. At the end of the 18th century there were about 100 pharmacies in Russia. Their activities were regulated by the Aptekarskii ustav (pharmaceutical charter; 1789). With the development of zemstvo (district assembly) institutions, zemstvo pharmacies began to be established. By 1914 there were 4,791 pharmacies in Russia, including about 200 zemstvo pharmacies. After the Great October Revolution, the Council of People’s Commissars issued a decree (Dec. 28, 1918) on the nationalization of pharmacies; they were transferred to the authority of the People’s Commissariat of Public Health.

General management of pharmacies is carried out by the Pharmaceutical Board of the Ministry of Public Health of the USSR through pharmaceutical boards of the oblasts (krais) and republics. As of Jan. 1, 1970, there were over 20,000 pharmacies in the USSR (including municipal, central, regional in rural areas, and interhospital), existing at government expense. In addition, there were more than 3,000 hospital pharmacies on the government budget, as well as pharmacies of individual departments.

Special premises and equipment are set aside in the pharmacy for the preparation of medicines. All medicines dispensed by the pharmacy are subject to control. The preparation and dispensation of medications, their control, and their storage are performed according to the State Pharmacopoeia of the USSR by persons with specialized pharmaceutical training. In capitalist countries, pharmacies are private-enterprise institutions. In most countries, prices for medications are not regulated.


Zmeev, L. F. Pervye apteki v Rossii. Moscow, 1887.
50 let sovetskogo zdravookhraneniia: 1917–1967. Moscow, 1967. Pages 176–182.




a combined scientific and practical discipline concerned with discovering, obtaining, investigating, storing, preparing, and dispensing medical products. Pharmacy and pharmacology together make up the science of drugs. Pharmacy includes pharmaceutical chemistry, drug preparation and packaging, forensic chemistry, pharmacognosy, and the organization and economics of pharmacy. A promising area of pharmaceutical research is biological pharmacy, which studies the relationship between the effect of a drug and the way it is manufactured and administered. Pharmacy specialists in the USSR are called farmatsevty. Pharmacy institutions include pharmacies, warehouses, analytic laboratories, research institutes, laboratories and enterprises that produce drugs, and establishments that collect and process medicinal plants.


Also known as pharmaceutics.
The art and science of the preparation and dispensation of drugs.
A place where drugs are dispensed.


the practice or art of preparing and dispensing drugs
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