Coronavirus Update: Our team is here to help our clients and readers navigate these difficult times. Visit our Resources page now »

Skip to Main Content

Pharmaceutical Industry Workers

History

The oldest known written records relating to pharmaceutical preparations come from the ancient Sumerians about 5,000 years ago. Other ancient cultures, such as the Indians and Chinese, used primitive pharmaceutical applications to eradicate evil spirits, which they believed to cause evil in the body. The Babylonians, Assyrians, Greeks, and Egyptians also compounded early pharmaceuticals in hope that they would rid the body of disease (which they believed was caused primarily by sinful thoughts and deeds).

Professions in pharmacy began to be established in the 17th century, after the first major list of drugs and their applications and preparations was compiled. The discoveries of the anesthetics morphine (first used in 1806), ether (1842), and cocaine (1860), were among the first pharmaceutical advancements to significantly benefit humankind. Since then, numerous vaccines have cured sickness and disease and have helped people live longer, healthier lives.

In 1852 in the United States, the American Pharmaceutical Association (APA) was formed to help those in the pharmaceutical field organize their professional, political, and economic goals. (The Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association replaced the APA in 1958, and it is now known as Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.) Government intervention in the pharmaceutical industry began in 1848, and in 1931 the Food and Drug Administration was formed to provide legal regulation and monitoring of the pharmaceutical industry. As the industry became increasingly regulated and organized, qualified workers were sought to professionally produce and package pharmaceutical products. These workers, known collectively as pharmaceutical industry workers, possess a variety of skills, responsibilities, and education levels and continue to actively work to improve the quality and length of our lives.

Related Professions