Five “Farmacy” Fun Facts

1. On May 8, 1886, in Atlanta, Georgia, Coca-Cola, was born. We owe this creation to none other than a local pharmacist, Dr. John Stith Pemberton. He developed the syrup for Coca-Cola and carried a jug of the new concoction to Jacobs’ Pharmacy. The product was sampled, pronounced to be “excellent” and then placed on sale for five cents a glass.

2. We didn’t forget about you Dr. Pepper fans. Dr. Pepper was invented in 1885 by Charles Alderton, a pharmacist in the great state of Texas. Charles Alderton worked at Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, Texas. When he wasn’t busy mixing medicine, he enjoyed serving carbonated drinks at the soda fountain. He loved the way the drug store smelled with all of the fruit syrup flavors in the air. He decided to develop a drink that would taste like that smell. He kept a journal to help document his experiments and when he finally concocted a
mixture of fruit syrups that he liked – Dr Pepper was born!

3. Not a fan of Coca Cola or Dr. Pepper? No problem. Our next fun fact involves the creation of Vernors Ginger Ale, one of America’s oldest soft drinks. This drink was actually invented on accident by Detroit pharmacist James Vernor. Prior to being called to fight in the Civil War, James had been working on a mixture of vanilla and spices with ginger to calm the stomach.  When he left for the war, he left the concoction in an oak case. Upon his return, he opened the barrel and was surprised by its delicious contents. The zesty, sweet, and gingery flavor was accentuated by the wood’s aging process.

4. What do pharmacy today and pharmacy in ancient Egypt have in common? (besides the hieroglyphics we see on prescriptions today) Turns out, the ancient Egyptians wrote prescriptions just like us. In fact, some of the oldest pharmaceutical records were found in Egypt. Although Egyptian medicine dates back to about 2900 B.C., the “Papyrus Ebers,” a collection of 800 prescriptions mentioning 700 drugs, dates back to around 1500 B.C. In ancient Egypt, pharmacy was conducted by two or more echelons: gatherers and preparers of drugs, and head pharmacists or “chiefs of fabrication” who have been thought to have worked in the “House of Life.” “Houses of Life” are believed to have been temples of knowledge run by the priests and leaders of the day.

5. Greek Physician Galen of Pergamon practiced and taught both Pharmacy and Medicine in Rome (130-200 A.D.). His principles of preparing and compounding medications ruled in the Western world for 1,500 years making his name well known and respected in medicine. In fact, his name is still associated with galenicals, a class of pharmaceuticals that are compounded by mechanical means. Many of the procedures he developed still have a huge impact on today’s modern compounding laboratories.