History of Pharmacy in India – Pharmaceutics – I B. Pharma 1st Semester

History of Pharmacy in India

History of Pharmacy in India

Learning Objectives

At the end of this lecture, student will be able to

• Explain the History of Pharmacy in India and different systems of Medicine

• Explain the origin of Pharmacy education in India

• Reproduce the pharmacist’s oath

• Explain the relevance of pharmaceutical ethics

History of Pharmacy in India

Systems of Medicine

1. Allopathy (or allopathic system of medicine)

• Discipline advocating therapy with remedies that produce effects differing from those of the disease treated

• Also called ‘modern’, ‘western’, or ‘scientific’ medicine

2. Alternative / Complementary system of medicine

– AYUSH: Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy

– Chiropractic

– Energy Medicine

– Various forms of acupuncture

– Traditional Chinese medicine

– Christian faith healing

Chiropractic is a form of alternative medicine that focuses on diagnosis and treatment of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, especially the spine, under the belief that these disorders affect general health via the nervous system

Energy Medicine is – heal the body by activating its natural healing energies; you also heal the body by restoring energies that have become weak, disturbed, or out of balance.

Acupuncture – Acupuncture (from Latin, ‘acus’ (needle) + ‘punctura’ (to puncture) is a form of alternative medicine and a key component of traditional Chinese medicine involving inserting thin needles into the body at acupuncture points

Traditional Chinese medicine using herbal preparations

Christian faith healing Faith healing refers to ritualistic practices of communal prayer and gestures (such as laying on of hands) that are claimed to solicit divine intervention in initiating spiritual and literal healing.

Ayurvedic System of Medicine


• Use of plant-based medicines and treatments, with some animal products, and added minerals including sulfur, arsenic, lead, copper sulfate

Homoeopathic System of Medicine

• System developed in a belief that “Like cures Like”

• Founder of Homeopathy – is Dr. Samuel Christian, Frederic Hahnemann (1755-1843)

Unani System of Medicine

• Originated in Greece (Unan)

• Hippocrates (460 – 377 BC), the “Father of Medicine” freed medicine from the realm of superstition and magic and gave it the status of science

• The teachings of Hippocrates form the basis of the theoretical frame work of Unani Medicine

• The fundamentals of this system are based on Hippocrates’ Humoral Theory

• According to Unani philosophy the health and illness of a person depends upon the balance of 4 humours in the body. They are Dam (Blood), Balgham (Phlegm), Safra (Yellow bile), Sauda (Black bile) remain in equilibrium

“Let food be the medicine and medicine be the food” – Hippocrates

Naturopathic System of Medicine

• Based on a belief that the body heals itself using a supernatural vital energy that guides bodily processes

• Naturopathy or naturopathic medicine is a form of alternative medicine employing a wide array of “natural” modalities, including homeopathy, herbalism, and acupuncture, as well as diet and lifestyle counseling.

• The term naturopathy was coined in 1895 by John Scheel and purchased by Benedict Lust, the “father of U.S. naturopathy“

• The ideology and methods of naturopathy are based on vitalism and self-healing, rather than evidence-based medicine

Siddha System of Medicine

• Oldest medical system known to mankind

• System of Siddha medicine originated in Southern India, in the state of Tamil Nadu

• Practiced more than 10,000 years ago

•The word Siddha comes from the word Siddhi

• Means an object to be attained perfection or heavenly bliss

• Siddha focused to “Ashtamahasiddhi,” the eight supernatural power

• Those who attained or achieved the above said powers are known as Siddhars.

• Belief that disease is caused due to disturbance in normal equilibrium of the three humors (Vaadham, Pittham and Kabam)

Chiropractic System of Medicine

• Emphasizes diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system-especially the spine

• The belief is that these disorders affect general health via the nervous system

Origin of Pharmaceutical Profession in India

• The western / Allopathic system introduced by British traders

• Costly treatment

• Meant for the British rulers and the rich Indians

• The other Indians preferred Ayurvedic medicine

• By 19th Century, it became popular among all people

• Pharmacy profession started with opening of chemist shop in 1811 by Scotch M Bathgate

• Opened in Kolkata

• All people who practiced pharmacy were called Compounders

• In 1901 Bengal Chemical and Pharmaceutical Works

• Founded by Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray

• Established in Calcutta

• Indian chemist, educator and entrepreneur

• 1903: A small factory at Parel (Bombay) by Prof. T.K. Gujjar

• 1907: Alembic Chemical Works at Baroda by Prof. T.K. Gujjar

• H.W. Honey, the “first qualified person” to get recognition as chemist and druggist in India in 1866

•“First Pharmacopoeia of India” under British Monarchy in India was published in 1868.

Top 10 Publicly Listed pharmaceutical companies in India




Sun Pharmaceutical


Lupin Ltd


Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories




Aurobindo Pharma


Cadila Healthcare


Glenmark Pharmaceuticals


GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Ltd


Divis Laboratories


Torrent Pharmaceuticals

Origin of Pharmaceutical Education in India

• Regular two years course for “Chemists and Druggists Diploma” started at Madras Medical College, Chennai in 1874

• Pharmacy education pattern was based on the pattern of Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain

• A formal training of the compounders was started in 1881 in Bengal.

• “Chemists and Druggists Diploma” – equivalent to that the diploma issued by Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London in 1893

• The course included (2 Years study + 3 months practical training + 1 year internship)

• Government of India on 11th August 1930, appointed a committee under the chairmanship of Late Col. R.N.Chopra

• Committee published its report in 1931

• Reported that there was no recognized specialized profession of Pharmacy.

• To check the problems of Pharmacy in India and recommend the measures to be taken

• In 1932 Prof. M.L. Shroff who obtained his M.S degree in Chemistry from MIT joined Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi

• He suggested the inclusion of pharmaceutical chemistry as a subject course at degree level

• Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya was the Vice Chancellor of BHU at that time

• In 1932 Prof. Schroff introduced Pharmaceutical Chemistry as the main subject in the B.Sc. course in BHU

• From 1934 an integrated 2-years B.Sc course with the subjects -Pharma chemistry, Pharmacy and Pharmacognosy, was introduced

• In 1937, a Regular degree course (B.Pharm) started at BHU under the leadership of Prof. M.L. Shroff

• Prof. Mahadeva Lal Schroff or Prof. M. L. Schroff is the pioneer and Father of Indian Pharmacy Education

• In 1940 Prof. Schroff introduced M.Pharm at BHU, Varanasi

• Mr. Subhadra Kumar Patni became the first Pharmacy Graduate in India in 1940

• Post of Hospital Pharmacist created at KEM Hospital (King Edward Memorial Hospital), Mumbai, 1941

• Modern pharmacy services started at Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore; Jaslok hospital, JJ Hospital and other hospitals in India

• Gorakh Prasad Srivastava became the first Post Graduate in Pharmacy from BHU in 1943

• PhD degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences started in 1945 at BHU

• The University of the Punjab, Lahore, was the next to introduce pharmacy course in 1944

• Dr. Khem Singh Grewal was the founder of pharmaceutical education at the Punjab University

Pharmacist’s Oath

• I Swear by the code of Ethics of Pharmacy Council of India in relation to the community and shall act as an integral part of health care team

• I shall uphold the laws and standards governing my profession.

• I shall strive to perfect and enlarge my knowledge to contribute to the advancement of pharmacy and public health.

• I shall follow the system, which I consider best for pharmaceutical care and counseling of patients.

• I shall endeavour to discover and manufacture drugs of quality to alleviate sufferings of humanity.

• I shall hold in confidence the knowledge gained about the patients in connection with professional practice and never divulge unless compelled to do so by the law.

• I shall associate with organizations having their objectives for betterment of the profession of Pharmacy and make contribution to carry out the work of those organisations.

• While I continue to keep this Oath inviolated, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and the practice of pharmacy respected by all, at all times!

• Should I trespass and violate this oath, may the reverse be my lot!

History of Pharmacy in India Summary

1. Systems of Medicine- include Allopathic and Alternative systems

2. Alternative systems of medicine are: Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy, Chiropractic, Energy Medicine, Various forms of acupuncture, Traditional Chinese medicine, And Christian Faith Healing

3. Prof. M.L Schroff was the pioneer of Pharmacy Education in India

4. Pharmacy course was first started in BHU

5. Pharmacists Oath- encompasses the ethics to be followed by a pharmacist in relation to:

– His trade

– His Profession

– His Customers

History of Pharmacy in India FAQs

  1. Is Ayurveda still relevant in modern pharmacy practices? Ayurveda continues to play a significant role in modern pharmacy, with many formulations finding applications in contemporary medicine.
  2. How has globalization impacted the affordability of medicines in India? Globalization has led to increased competition, driving down the costs of medicines and making them more affordable for the masses.
  3. What role do government policies play in shaping the pharmaceutical landscape? Government policies influence accessibility, affordability, and quality of medicines, shaping the overall pharmaceutical landscape.
  4. Who are some contemporary figures contributing to pharmaceutical research in India? Dr. Reddy, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, and others are notable figures contributing to pharmaceutical research and innovation.
  5. How does technology contribute to ensuring the quality of pharmaceutical products? Technology ensures precision in manufacturing, quality control, and distribution, maintaining the high standards of pharmaceutical products.

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