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History of Pharmacy

Pharmacy as a practice was unregulated during most of the 19th century. Without a clear boundary between doctors and pharmacists, physicians and their apprentices frequently made and distributed medicine. The health field also included apothecaries who both diagnosed and treated disease and druggists who made and sold medicines wholesale to apothecaries, physicians, and general store owners.

Changes in medical education led to more physicians writing prescriptions to be filled by the local pharmacist, which spurred an increase in the number of pharmacies and drugstores. This was especially true on the East coast, where shops began standardizing their appearance and stock to include both medical supplies and specialty retail items. Pharmacists, apothecaries, and druggists used trade cards to publicize their areas of specialization as well as the products they sold.


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