Surprising facts about the history of pharmacy — You + Blue

Something to think about the next time you drink a Coke or Pepsi, thank a pharmacist.

Maybe it’s just me, but I find facts about pharmacy to be really interesting. Perhaps it’s time to reveal my inner pharmacy-geek with you and share a handful of interesting pharmacy facts.

  • Louisiana was the first state to require pharmacists to be licensed. Louis Dufilho Jr. became the first licensed pharmacist in 1816.
  • Pharmacists are responsible for many of your favorite soft drinks. Dr. Pepper, Coca-Cola and Pepsi were all invented by pharmacists in the late 1800s.
  • Tamper-resistant packaging was created after Tylenol capsules laced with lethal doses of cyanide were found on store shelves in Chicago in 1982. Seven people died as a result of this crime and the perpetrators of these murders have never been identified.
  • Many poisonous substances are made into helpful medications. The Pacific yew tree is made into a powerful drug used for cancer treatment. Snake venom was a precursor to a class of drugs used to treat blood pressure.
  • Nitroglycerin is a medication used to alleviate chest pain. It’s also the main ingredient for dynamite.
  • Warfarin is a common blood thinner that was discovered when a U.S. Army inductee tried to commit suicide with rat poison. The effect was reversed with vitamin K and warfarin was approved for use in humans in 1954.
Tiffany Liesmann, BCBSKS staff pharmacist


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