pharmacy, 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.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.