150 Years of American Pharmacy: A profession for the 'reliable man'

May 21, 2007

Is pharmacy a good career for a young man? One hundred years ago Druggist's Circular published a debate on the question

Is pharmacy a good business to recommend to young men and women looking for a career? It is a question that pharmacists have been asking themselves for more than 100 years, and it is just as likely to generate a debate today as it did 100 years ago. In 1907, Druggists' Circular, the predecessor of Drug Topics, held its own mini-debate on the question, reprinting articles from major daily newspapers that offered two very stark views of the nature of the retail pharmacy profession a century ago.

H. V. Arny, writing for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, had a decidedly rosier view of the profession, labeling the profession a "safe calling for young men." Arny felt that the concerns of writers like Vandenburg were actually opportunities for the right person. "The apparent disadvantages of the calling-long hours, difficulty in mastering the science of pharmacy, moderate remuneration-are in the long run positive advantages since all these factors prevent undue crowding of the ranks," he opined. The profession was perfect for the right person, weeding out those who wanted to make a fast and easy buck. "Only a steady reliable man can become a registered pharmacist," he argued.