Monday 30 December 2019

Fun Facts About The History of Pharmaceuticals With Marla Ahlgrimm

Marla Ahlgrimm
When you look at the pharmacy, you likely think it’s one of the most boring places in town. However, according to retired pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm, the history of your local pharmacy is filled with lots of fun facts that might make you change your perspective. For example:

Paracelsus (A Swiss alchemist born in the 15th century) was originally named Philippus.

This pre-pharmacy-era professional changed his name because “Paracelsus” roughly translates to “better than Celsus.” Celsus was a then-famous Roman doctor who Paracelsus wanted to overshadow.

Doctors did not always wash their hands during an autopsy.

Gross, right? However, according to Marla Ahlgrimm, many years before germs and bacteria were fully understood, most healthcare professionals did not wash their hands during surgeries or while performing an autopsy. It was not until Ignaz Semmelweis, who is revered as the father of antiseptic procedures and known as the “Savior of Mothers,” inadvertently discovered that hand disinfection reduced the incidence of postpartum fever.

Some of the first medical concoctions contained dead frogs and dried blood.

Marla Ahlgrimm explains that the beginning of the pharmaceutical industry as we know it today started based on superstition and hope. One hilarious example can be seen in medical texts that originated during the Black Plague. During this time, dried blood was mixed with the remnants of dead toads to protect physicians from contracting the disease. It did not work.

British soldiers intentionally put mold in their pockets to prevent penicillin theft.

Marla Ahlgrimm says history books are full of ingenious methods used to protect medicines. One of the most notable is how World War II soldiers from Britain filled the lining of their jackets with penicillin mold to prevent penicillin theft by German forces. The soldiers wore these jackets in route to the US hoping to grow their own antibiotics during the journey.

Animal testing is necessary.

One of the most efficient ways to test a new medicine is to examine its effects on animals, including rats, monkeys, and rabbits. While many animal-rights agencies believe this is cruel, Marla Ahlgrimm and other pharmacist reported that animal testing makes it possible to create life-saving drugs without putting patients at risk.


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