150 years of American Pharmacy: Pharmacy reacts to the 'dread disease'

July 23, 2007

Drug Topics covers the emerging AIDS crisis as hope for drug treatment and vaccines rise.

The earliest report on AIDS in Drug Topics appeared in the Feb. 15, 1982, "Medicaps" column by Roberta Marks (Wilbur). The report on an "odd illness among homosexual men" noted that early researchers thought the then-unnamed disease might be related to recreational drug use.

By the end of 1985, AIDS was coming out of the shadows. Drugs were being tested, and the pages of Drug Topics were suddenly filled with new treatment options even as a 1986 story concluded that "hope remains slim." In March 1987, following the approval of AZT (zidovudine), the first true AIDS drug, Drug Topics ran its first AIDS cover story, asking "Are you ready for patients' questions?" Five years after the disease's appearance, pharmacists had finally found their role and their place in treating AIDS.