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Summary of Historical Background of Pharmacy

During the 20th century, the pharmacy profession evolved four stages :-
  1. Traditional era -: Before 1940s, the pharmacist "Apothecary" role was to prepare and dispense drugs. The main aspect of traditional profession was Pharmacognosy "medicinal function of natural products of animal, plant, and mineral sources and Galenicals pharmacy". This era was dominated by the formulation and dispersing of drugs from natural sources. 

  2. Scientific era: After World War II, scientific era was dominated by development of drugs and scientific testing of the effects of drugs on the body and mass production of synthetic drugs. The backbone of this era was Pharmacology "scientific study of drugs and their mechanism of action".

  3. Clinical era:1960s, in this era the pharmacist role was a combination between the traditional roles and a new role as dispenser of drug information.

  4. Pharmaceutical-care era: The American pharmaceutical association in 1996, the pharmaceutical care is a patient-centered, outcomes-oriented pharmacy practice the requires the pharmacist to work in concert with the patient and the patient’s other healthcare providers to promote health, to prevent disease, and to assess, monitor, initiate, and modify medication use to assure that drug therapy regimens are safe and effective. The goal of pharmaceutical care is to optimize the patient’s health-related quality of life and achieve positive clinical outcomes, within economic expenditures.

Pharmacy profession was split into special categories :-
  1. Community Pharmacy
  2. Clinical Pharmacy
  3. Academic Pharmacy
  4. Hospital Pharmacy
  5. Industrial Pharmacy.

It is a well-known fact that because of the British rule, pharmaceutical industry could not be developed significantly in India. After independence, the Government declared its industrial policy in the year 1950. The Government gave importance to the development of the pharmaceutical industry. During 1950, there were 65 domestic pharmaceutical units in India, while foreign units were 28 in number. In 1952, about 1,643 licenses were issued under the Drug Act. In 1989, the number had increased 48 to 12,000. Of these, only 1,554 were manufacturing units. In the year 2003-04, it had increased to over 24,000 units. In 1952, total investment in the pharmaceutical industry was only Rs. 24 crores which increased to Rs. 1,175 corers in 1984-85. Now, in 2004-05, it has reached over Rs 15,000 crores. Due to development of the pharmaceutical industry, the average life expectancy of Indian increased from 32 years to 60 years. In fact, India has also made adequate research in this field. However, the multinationals have already entered the Indian market. These companies are competing with the Indian pharmaceutical companies. As there is a free entry in the Indian market, the foreign pharmaceutical companies with modern techniques for production are procuring raw materials and manufacturing products with the help of cheap labour. Therefore, these companies are likely to get more profit as compared to the Indian pharmaceutical companies.

1. Hospital Pharmacy 
Pharmacist working in hospital pharmacy interacts on a daily basis with all health care profession. He is responsible for calculating the intravenous dosage, dispensing drugs for in-patients and managing drug distribution in hospital. He maintains records for each patient to fill the medication order.

2. Clinical Pharmacy
Pharmacists working in clinical pharmacy are responsible for Therapeutic Drug Monitoring (TDM), Drug Information Center (DIC) and patient counseling. They should hold Pharm. D degree. They must develop pharmaceutical care planning for each patient. They work as a resident pharmacist in the hospital dealing with patient and all health care professions. 

3. Academic Pharmacy
Pharmacists working in academia are responsible for doing research for new active pharmaceutical ingredients, new drug formulae and novel drug delivery systems. They should hold Master and Ph.D. degrees. They must give teaching and researching activities in an organization following the ministry of higher education.