150 Years of American Pharmacy: Red Book: From genesis to present

November 19, 2007

Druggists Circular and Drug Topics published The Red Book for close to 100 years to provide key drug pricing data to pharmacists.

Even before merging with Druggists' Circular, Drug Topics published a posology list and market report as a service to its readers. In a July 1888 issue, the magazine reported this about the pharmacy compounding ingredient Otto Rose: "The rose trees on the slopes of the Balkans having well resisted the late severe winter, present low prices are likely to prevail."

Red Book offered a much more regular approach to pricing issues, offering prices for most major drugs. "We endeavor to keep our prices up to date," the magazine explained in 1920, "but it is not always easy-or even possible for us to learn about last minute changes."

As Red Book grew in size, it came to be seen as an entirely separate publication. Finally, in 2003 that separation was complete. When Advanstar Communications purchased Drug Topics,Red Book was not part of the deal. Still the publication perseveres and is now in its 111th year.