150 Years of American Pharmacy: Authentic intelligence on all subjects related to our profession

January 8, 2007

In January 1857, the first issue of American Druggists' Circular and Chemical Gazette appeared in New York City. Published in the back of Bridgman & Co. apothecaries, the new journal was focused solely on druggists, apothecaries, and pharmacies and promised to "promote the acquisition and circulation of early and authentic intelligence on all subjects related to our profession. It will preserve all the features of a scientific journal and be at the same time a general business paper of the trade."

Editor's note: Welcome to the first installment of a new column, 150 Years of American Pharmacy, which we are launching to celebrate our sesquicentennial this year. To be published in each of our 23 issues this year, this column will take a look back at some of the greatest moments in the pharmacy profession. Tied with this column is a pharmacy history contest, which we are urging all readers to participate in. Information about the contest, which is based on this column, will be posted on Drug Topics' anniversary microsite. At the end of the year, four winners will each be awarded a Visa gift card of $250. For details about the contest, go to http://www.drugtopics.com/drugtopics/form/formDetail.jsp?formId=395300

True to his word, editor Henry Bridgman created a magazine that, 150 years later, still comprises a unique combination of news and scientific discovery. Although editorial stewardship changed frequently-Bridgman sold the magazine after just 18 months-and the name changed after the magazine merged with Drug Topics (which started as a McKesson house organ) in 1940, the magazine's commitment to both news and science has never changed.

While the nature of scientific reporting may have changed dramatically over the past century and a half, Bridgman's eye for news proved timeless. That first issue reported on the arrest of Henry D. Driver of 80 Maiden Lane, a drug broker for Holloway's Pills and Ointments. Driver was accused of ordering 500,000 forged Holloway's labels with the intent to sell counterfeit medicine to unsuspecting druggists. The first issue of American Druggists' Circular, it seems, came just in time.