One Hundred Years of the National Formulary: A Symposium

One Hundred Years of the National Formulary: A Symposium

Publisher: American Institute of the History of Pharmacy
Year Published: 1989
Pages: 157, Selected Pages from The National Formulary of Unofficial Preparations (1888)
ISBN: 0-931292-21-2
Price: $8.00 ($5.00 for members)

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American pharmacy has changed dramatically during the last one hundred and fifty years, yet one overriding concern as remained unaltered: the accurate composition of medicines dispensed. Since 1906 the United States has been in the unique position of having two official compendia of drug standards, the United States Pharmacopeia and the National Formulary. Today they are merged in a single volume, with the differences between them realized only by specialists. Their origins, however, are vastly different and reveal something about the changing nature of drug standardization and American pharmacy. The USP was founded in 1820 by a convention of physicians interested in achieving some uniformity in the drugs and medicines being prepared by an emerging class of druggists and pharmacists. Although pharmacists participated in subsequent revisions of the USP, physicians were the dominant force in standardization for the next fifty years. In the 1880 two significant changes occurred: the task of revising the Pharmacopeia passed into the hands of pharmaceutical experts and the American Pharmaceutical Association published the first National Formulary.

To celebrate the first century of the National Formulary, a symposium was held on 13 Marc 1988 in Atlanta, Georgia. Co-sponsored by the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy and the United States Pharmacopeial Convention, Inc.m the symposium appropriately took place at an annual meeting of the American Pharmaceutical Association, where, a century before, the membership had first heard of the early success of their first publication project. As the first paper in this volume shows, the first NF was not conceived as a compendium of drug standards or as another formula book, but as a weapon in the pharmacy profession’s battle against ready made preparations and prescription medicines. The leadership of the American Pharmaceutical Association hoped that a recipe book of commonly made preparations would inspire physicians to write out complete prescriptions rather than order mass manufactured medicines.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction, by Gregory J. Higby (page 1)
  • Publication of the National Formulary: A Turning Point for American Pharmacy, by Gregory J. Higby (page 3)
  • The Changing Character of the National Formulary (1890-1970), by Glenn Sonnedecker (page 21)
  • The NF-USP Merger: Controversies and Consequences, by Edward G. Feldmann (page 43)
  • The Recent History and the Future of the NF Concept, by William H. Heller (page 55)
  • Selected Pages from The National Formulary of Unofficial Preparations (1888) (page 69)
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