Medical stores in 1865, pharmacist training and pharmacopoeias in India until the launch of the Indian Pharmacopoeia in 1955

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Abstract

Medical stores attached to army hospitals serviced as pharmacies in India until the later decades of the 19th century. Only around the 1920s, independent pharmacies as retail outlets began to appear in India. An army surgeon, Edward Nicholson, in an article published in the Madras Quarterly Journal of Medical Science (1865), while stationed in Cannanore in the erstwhile Presidency of Madras, laments on the poor quality of the army medical stores and how the surgeons were also to function as the compounder-dispenser in army hospitals. In this paper, we have used this Nicholson's narrative as a trigger to reconstruct the status of army medical stores in British India and the publication of pharmacopoeias (also referred as Materia Medicas) in India by British surgeons in India, such as William O'Shaughnessy and Edward Waring in 1842 and 1868 respectively. The Madras Presidency contributed, in an equally significant measure, to pharmacopoeial knowledge. Mohideen Sheriff, an early graduate of the Madras Medical College (MMC) and who superintended the Triplicane Dispensary for several years, wrote the Materia Medica of Madras. The MMC offered training to medical students in Materia Medica in the 1860s. However, formal training of Chemists and Druggists (= pharmacists) commenced in MMC only between 1870 and 1879. Madras pioneered in establishing the Pharmaceutical Society of India in 1925 - the first established professional body - primarily meant to act as an accreditation society, which was amalgamated with the Indian Pharmaceutical Association functioning in Banares (Varanasi) in 1949.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1358-1366
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Science
Volume114
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

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