Pharmacy ( from the Greek φάρμακον, pharmacon, cure, poison, magic charms ) or Pharmaceuticals is an interdisciplinary science that deals with the nature, effect, development, testing, manufacture and distribution of medicinal products. The pharmacy combines the aspects of various natural sciences, especially in chemistry, biology and physics, with medical issues. The study of pharmacy is a prerequisite to practice as a pharmacist.


Since time immemorial, people concerned with areas of pharmacy. Although the subject matter of the discipline is one of the oldest academic disciplines ( materia medica ), as a discipline, today's pharmacy but a relatively young science, which until 17-18. Century was slow.

Only in the 18th century arose from the Enlightenment private pharmaceutical education institutes that - in addition to the traditional hand - took over the scientific education of pharmacists. In the 19th century the study for pharmacists was gradually prescribed ( since 1875 reaching defined) in the German states. Since the 1920s, the university pharmacy triggered by the chemical institutes and independent institutions were built. The timetable pharmacy studies is defined in the licensing regulations for pharmacists ( Aappo ). Focus is on the chemistry ( about 40%), the remaining subjects are weighted approximately equally.


The modern pharmaceutical industry is divided into the following areas:

  • The Pharmaceutical Chemistry (recently also mentioned in reference to the English expression Medicinal Chemistry ) includes the study of the chemical structure ( and their relation to action), synthesis, properties, stability and analysis ( identity, purity, content) of active substances and excipients, as well as pollutants.
  • The Pharmaceutical Biology (formerly Pharmacognosy ) is concerned with the biological basis of Pharmacy, the use of biological sources - such as medicinal plants, drugs, and their ingredients - for the development of effective drugs. In recent years, the topic has been extended to molecular biology basics and genetically engineered drugs.
  • The Pharmaceutical Technology (formerly Galenic or Arzneiformenlehre ) is the study of the dosage form, ie it is engaged in the production of tablets, capsules, suppositories, juices, etc. Here, the interaction of the drug with the excipients used, for example, when pressing of tablets, of importance. Of great importance are also the laws of physics, which are those applied in the production, stabilization and testing of drugs based measures.
  • The pharmacology and toxicology includes physiology and pathophysiology as well as the effect of drugs and toxins in the human body.
  • The Clinical Pharmacy (since 2001 examination subject at German universities ) is to establish a bridge between science and pharmaceutical practice. Although established in the United States and Great Britain for decades, it had the Clinical Pharmacy in Germany very hard to establish itself as a pharmaceutical discipline. In Clinical Pharmacy In contrast to the pharmacology is not the drug, but the patient at the center.
  • Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, which have the epidemiological and economic aspects of drug application to the object. In most test systems of the universities with training opportunities for pharmacists these compartments are now mandatory, eg in the FU Berlin since 2003.
  • The emergency and disaster Pharmacy deals with ensuring the supply of medicines in exceptional situations.

In some countries outside the German-speaking world and the social pharmacy is anchored. Social Pharmacy sets wrestle with how patients, consumers, doctors, pharmacists, other health professionals, politicians, organizations and associations as well as society as a whole with drugs deal which reciprocal relationships they enter into with each other and how this will fit into the social, cultural and economic relationships leaves.

Pharmaceutical products

The term pharmaceutical preparations is synonymous with drugs, finished medicines ( medicinal product ) or for preparation forms of drugs used. Pharmaceutical products are often produced industrially by pharmaceutical companies.