150 Years of American Pharmacy: A 'sugar coated' magazine for druggists

March 19, 2007

In 1920, Drug Topics' readers were greeted by a new and somewhat different magazine. After 35 years of ownership by drug wholesaler McKesson & Robbins (now McKesson), the monthly magazine for druggists and their salesmen was now run by the independent Topics Publishing Co.

Behind the transformation was the recognition of a changing environment for pharmacy and the dream of the editor Jerry McQuade and Vernuer Pratt, the new publisher. "I dreamed of publishing a magazine based on the fundamental idea that the druggist is an intelligent human being ... who loves to read, but whose time is short, and who must have his reading matter in tabloid form, sugar coated," Pratt explained in the first issue.

McQuade left other clues for the move in the magazine's masthead. Pratt was described as "Publisher: a skilled navigator, who steers the course and watches the steam gauge." For Topics Publishing Co. he wrote, "Owner: A corporation with a soul." And for himself, "Editor: a Greek with poetic aspirations in love with his work."