The pharmacy is one of the first and most trusted places we visit when we’re struck down by a cold or have an unusual rash. Despite the amount of time that you might spend filling prescriptions, seeking advice and even browsing for gifts in your local chemist, how much do you really know about pharmacies?
Here are four intriguing facts you probably didn’t know about pharmacies…
1. CVS is the largest pharmacy chain in the U.S., but not necessarily the most trusted
Despite fierce competition from Walgreens and Health Mart, CVS comes in as the largest pharmacy chain in the US, boasting an amazing 9968+ locations. However, while larger chains offer convenience, many Americans still prefer more family-orientated, smaller businesses, like this pharmacy in Massachusetts. In fact, a survey by Entrepreneur found that small businesses are seen as more ethical and an embodiment of the American dream.
2. The oldest pharmacy in the world is over 400 years old
Believe it or not, the oldest documented pharmacy has roots that can be traced back to 1221. The Santa Maria Novella pharmacy is located in Florence, Italy, and still operating today as a boutique apothecary. The pharmacy began within a monastery connected to the Church of Santa Maria Novella. There, monks experimented with herbs to create remedies. However, it wasn’t until 1612 that Fra Angiolo Marchissi established the retail operation, selling luxurious perfumes, medicinal balms and toiletries to the public. From 1990, the operation expanded and the pharmacy now has over 75 outlets throughout the world, including the United States.
3. Dr. Pepper was inspired by the scent of a pharmacy
Popular carbonated soda Dr. Pepper was actually created by a pharmacist! According to the company’s history and lore, Charles Alderton was a budding pharmacist working at a Morrison’s store in Texas when he concocted the drink. Rumour has it, Alterton loved the way the fruit syrup flavours mixed together in the air of the Morrison’s drug store and was determined to create a drink that captured the essence of this aroma. The product was first sold in 1885, but really took off in 1904 after being debuted at the World’s Fair.
4. Benjamin Franklin is known as a Founding Father of pharmacy
While Benjamin Franklin is predominantly known for his inventions and political influence, the famous polymath also played a significant role in establishing both the first public hospital and the first hospital pharmacy in the US. The idea to open a hospital in Philadelphia came from Franklin’s old friend, Thomas Bond, an American physician who practiced at the Parisian Hotel-Dieu hospital. However, it was only with Franklin’s support that a citizen’s petition was organised, arguing in favour of the idea. Within weeks, The Pennsylvania Assembly introduced a bill to create the hospital, with Franklin raising more than 200 pounds toward the initiative through private donations.
And there you have it – four unusual pharmacy facts to mull over next time you’re in line waiting for your prescription!