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Fun Facts

Pharmacist Education Through the Years: Some Things You Might Not Have Known

  • According to Chinese legend, the benefits of acupuncture were discovered when a soldier who had suffered from a stiff shoulder for many years was cured when an enemy arrow hit him in the leg!
  • Mithridates the Great of Pontus (a region of Persia) was in constant battle with Rome. Because he feared being poisoned, he would concoct different poisons and swallow them himself to build up a resistance. When the day came that he actually wanted to kill himself, he tried to poison himself, but it wouldn’t work.
  • Paracelsus was actually born Philippus Theophrastus Aureolus Bombastus von Hohenheim. He was a very high-spirited, independent and even rebellious individual, though he saw his father – a doctor/chemist – as a role model. Around 1516, when he graduated his pharmacist education with his doctorate degree, he changed his name to Paracelsus because it translated to beyond/more than Celsus (a famous Roman physician).
  • Ever wonder where the name Listerine© came from? It’s named after Joseph Lister who spread the word about using antiseptics in hospitals.
  • Here’s some irony for you: Ignaz Semmelweis figured out that doctors need to wash their hands after performing an autopsy on another doctor who got sick from cutting his finger during surgery.
  • During the Black Plague, doctors wore amulets (charms) made of dried blood and ground up toads!
  • During World War II, Britain feared that the Germans would invade their country and consequently, get a hold of their penicillin. As a preventative measure, researchers smeared pocket linings with the penicillin mold to transport to the U.S.
  • Different species of animals are used for testing new medications and products (mice, rats, rabbits and monkeys to name a few). Animal testing has helped make possible life-saving drug discoveries.
  • It can take up to twenty years to develop a new drug.

Robotics in Pharmacy

Have you ever wondered what it might be like to work with a robot? Well, some pharmacists do, and many more might work alongside robot pharmacists in the future. As of now, robots are used mainly at pharmacy hospitals, but pharmaceutical experts predict that the technology will reach local drug stores in coming years.

The Medical Center at the University of California San Francisco uses the PillPick® automated packaging system in conjunction with RIVA (Robotic IV Automation), a robot that dispenses liquid medication;  at New Jersey’s Holy Name Medical Center, robot pharmacists package, store and dispense prescriptions; and one children’s hospital in Ohio uses robots to prepare intravenous (IV) drugs.

Robots are not intended to replace pharmacists, who are integral to delivering patient care, but they can help a pharmacist do their job by speeding up manual tasks that don’t require their professional skills. In fact, pharmacy managers who have purchased and implemented this new technology report that the machines are easing pharmacists’ work load, allowing them to spend more time with patients and devote attention towards advancing various drug therapies.  An increased focus on patient interaction may allow pharmacists to treat the unique health care concerns of each individual. However, robot pharmacists are still very expensive, so the likelihood of seeing one at your local drug store will remain slim until manufacturers find a way to lower their cost and make them more broadly affordable.


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