Core concepts

1. Introduction

Pharmaceutical historiography is one of the practical pharmaceutical branches aiming to examine the developmental transformations of drugs and medicinal products, i.e. basic pharmaceutical categories concerning their material forms, and pharmaceutical functions concerning activities, experts, and institutions by which means those categories are conceptualised and implemented. Research results are observations later to be processed by another autonomous discipline, the history of pharmacy and further applied to formulate predictions on the development of pharmaceutical disciplines and practice in their complex relations as a whole. Processing of any kind of written documents and material sources, various methods, techniques and knowledge of related fields are applied, such as archival, library and museum studies, which collect and keep records, process relevant types of documents useful for enhancing our knowledge on the history of pharmacy. All these activities involve research into collections, museum, historical libraries and specialized archives aiming at the practical broadening the scope of pharmaceutical knowledge as well as the practical, e.g. institutional base of pharmacy.

Pharmaceutical Historiography as a discipline is considered a part of historiography of healthcare, not only closely linked to the historiography of science and technology but also to history in general.

Not just pharmacy historians but historians in general are in hope that their research findings would enrich the knowledge of professionals so as to positively influence both their professional ethical conduct and raise public and cultural awareness in broader terms.

2. Core concepts of history of pharmacy

  • All the various sectors of the history of pharmacy are explored by common scientific methods in the light of healthcare development (i.e. research, manufacturing, quality control, wholesale, pharmacy practice, IT, organisation, education, historiography, etc.) These methods also help evaluate the gained knowledge.
  • Research results are applied into practice through seminars and publishing activities on both regional and national levels (Czech-Slovak Pharmacy Journal, Praktické lékárenství etc.).
  • It provides written and photographic documentation of the changes occurring in pharmacies. It also explores the documents relevant to the history of pharmacy in specific regions or as observed in any particular discipline.
  • Close cooperation with other experts from pharmaceutical fields and faculties, the CzPS, as well as various museum institutions and local archives.
  • Strong emphasis is placed on life-long training and learning programmes. Assistance to deepening knowledge and skills development in the area of historiography and promotion of further learning about known facts in the field of history of pharmacy practice as well as pharmacy within healthcare in a broader perspective.
  • Great care regarding the collection, protection, preservation and further use of pharmaceutical monuments and historical sites.
  • Recording biographies of prominent pharmacists with major achievements in a given region, or in a particular field.
  • Collecting and recording memories of witnesses while processing any period in the development of pharmacy practice.

3. Conclusion

In order to put into practice all the above-mentioned objectives, there is a need to involve those interested that would help to preserve the immense wealth of historical material waiting to be processed and brought to light.

Above all, more intensive publication of achieved research results should yield more attention and a greater prestige of this interesting field between both professionals and lay public.