The pharmacy profession, as we know it today, has evolved from its roots as a timeless art deeply intertwined with the practice of medicine. With a history spanning millennia, the art of pharmacy has played a pivotal role in human healthcare. From its humble beginnings, symbolized by the world’s oldest known prescription written on a clay tablet in Mesopotamia circa 2400 BC, using solvents like beer, wine, and milk, pharmacy has transformed at each stage of global development.
The journey of pharmacy through the ages can be divided into distinct stages: apothecary, compounding, and clinical pharmacy. In the apothecary stage, pharmacists primarily manufactured drugs based on their own recipes. Subsequently, the compounding model emerged, followed by the clinical pharmacy model. Despite the publication of the concept of pharmaceutical care in 1990, its widespread adoption across countries faced challenges. This model emphasizes pharmacists taking responsibility for the desired outcomes of each medication, ultimately aiming to enhance patients’ quality of life.
The Nigerian Perspective
In Nigeria, the roots of modern pharmacy trace back to 1887 when Richard Zaccheus Bailey opened the country’s first medicine shop on Balogun Street in Lagos. Over time, community pharmacy has flourished into the multifaceted profession we recognize today. Hospital pharmacy practice began in 1900 in Lagos, Abeokuta, Calabar, and Asaba, while industrial pharmacy practices took off in 1944 with May and Baker importing drugs into Nigeria, followed by GlaxoSmithKline a decade later. Pharmacy practice has transitioned from being solely product-centered to a dual role, focusing on using medications to achieve defined patient outcomes and enhance overall quality of life.
Pharmacists as Healthcare Partners
Pharmacists have become indispensable members of the global healthcare system, including Nigeria, due to their accessibility and expertise. The COVID-19 pandemic underscored their vital contributions to healthcare. Studies by Showande and Lawal (2021) revealed community pharmacists’ significant role in identifying and resolving drug therapy problems (DTPs). Barbiye et al. (2023) reported high DTP rates in the United States and among African ambulatory hypertensive patients. The impact of DTPs on morbidity and hospitalization surpasses that of COVID-19, as evidenced by research conducted at the Federal Medical Center in Makurdi, Benue State, Nigeria.
Pharmacy in the Digital Age
In the modern era, technology has revolutionized pharmacy. Automation, telepharmacy, electronic health records, pharmacy management software, pharmacogenomics, computer-aided drug design, nanotechnology, biotechnology, biopharmaceuticals, and pharmaceutical informatics have all reshaped the field. Pioneering pharmacists like Pharm Adebayo Alonge have developed innovative tools, such as the Rxscanner, an AI device that detects counterfeit drugs. Telemedicine and telepharmacy platforms like Hubcare Health, spearheaded by Pharm Sesan Kareem and his team, have pioneered chronic healthcare models in Nigeria.
In conclusion, as the world celebrates World Pharmacist Day under the theme “Pharmacy Strengthening the Health System,” pharmacists are venturing into the realm of technology, prioritizing the creation of products that will revolutionize pharmacy practice not only in Nigeria but also on a global scale. This evolving profession, rooted in ancient artistry, now stands at the forefront of healthcare, working diligently to enhance patient care and improve overall health outcomes. Happy World Pharmacist Day!
Ogundeji Jide Jacobs is a young pharmacist who is keen on augmenting efficient healthcare delivery with technology. He is a data analyst, product manager and researcher with multiple publications to his name.
✅The history of pharmacy adapted from Texas tech University health Sciences center https://www.ttuhsc.edu/pharmacy/museum/pharmacy.history.aspx#:~:text=The%20world’s%20oldest%20known%20prescriptions,making%20poultices%2C%20salves%20and%20washes.
✅ Angela Esada, The expanded future of pharmacy in Nigeria with the community pharmacy approach, Dec. 2020. LinkedIn. Available on The Expanded Future of Pharmacy in Nigeria with the Community Pharmacy Approach. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/expanded-future-pharmacy-nigeria-community-approach-angela-esada?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_android&utm_campaign=share_via
✅Segun, S.J., Damilola, L.S. Drug therapy-related problem management in Nigeria community pharmacy – process evaluation with simulated patient. BMC Health Serv Res 22, 209 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-022-07535-z
✅Abatur C S, Drug Therapy Problems In General Internal Medicine: Pharmacist’s Interventions: A Retrospective Descriptive Study Of A Tertiary Hospital In Nigeria Dec,2022, Nigeria journal of clinical pharmacy and therapeutics. DOI: njcpt.com.ng/184.108.40.206
✅Merab Barbiye et al, Prevalence and factors associated with drug therapy problems among hypertensive patients at hypertension clinic of Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital, Uganda: a |cross-sectional study. Ther adv cardiovasc dis,April 2023. doi: 10.1177/17539447231160319 PMCID: PMC10101216 PMID: 37036058″