Pharmaceutical Milestones in Human History

Medical • 29 Nov 2011

The profession of pharmacy has been traced back to Babylon, 2600 BC; at this time, pharmacy was a blend of herbs combined with spiritual practices in an attempt to heal the sick and wounded. Pharmacy has evolved over the past 4600 years into a science as opposed to an art of trial and error. Over the past 100 years, pharmacy has advanced exponentially quickly due to a rise in technology and understanding of chemistry. This evolution of pharmacy has given society a much higher standard of living through some very important discoveries about the nature of pathogens, medicines and our own bodies.

Joseph Lister made one of the most important achievements in pharmacy by his asepsis technique, which involved spraying diluted phenol in the air, surgical instruments and washing hands. This lead to a drastic reduction in infections and increased knowledge about the nature of infection causing microorganisms. Sterilization since this point has become common practice, saving the lives of many throughout history who would have otherwise died to infections.

Another prominent milestones in the history of pharmacy is antibiotic treatment. This has led to drastically lengthened life due to the antibiotic activity of penicillin, which drastically reduces chances of death and increases speed of recovery from common bacterial infections. Since this time, other antibiotics have been discovered and isolated enabling us to further increase quality and length of life.

Development of vaccines may be the biggest advancements in all of pharmacy. The smallpox vaccine was first created in the early 1700\’s, yet, vaccines for other illnesses and diseases didn\’t arrive until the 1950\’s. Currently, vaccines are available for a huge variety of illnesses ranging from polio to the flu. These creations have been a very effective method to boost the immune system towards certain viruses and bacteria, making them extremely effective preventative measures against a variety of ailments.

Pharmacy is one of the fastest growing sciences and is growing exponentially, paving the way for a variety of new discoveries that can drastically improve life on earth.

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