6 Fun Facts for National Pharmacy Week

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6 Fun Facts for National Pharmacy Week

Since 1924, the third full week of October has been deemed National Pharmacy Week. This week focuses on the important role that pharmacists play in their patients’ healthcare, engagement, and general knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry.

In honor of this annual celebration of all things pharmacy, we’ve put together a list of 6 interesting facts!

1. Pharmacists are in the Top 5 of most trusted professionals, according to Americans.

That’s taking into consideration all professions, not just healthcare-related ones. In a Gallup poll, 63% of those surveyed deemed pharmacists trustworthy, only beaten by grade school teachers (64%), medical doctors (67%), and nurses (89%). Given the undeniable impact that pharmacists have on the overall quality of their patients’ care, that can come as no surprise.

2. The earliest known medical prescriptions date back to 168 B.C.

In 1972, the grave of a Later Han physician was found in Wu-Wei County in the Kansu Province in China. Within the uncovered casket were 92 wooden bamboo slips, which provided never-before-seen pharmaceutical data. These records included a list of roughly 30 prescriptions, which featured around 100 drugs.

3. Within National Pharmacy Week is a separate honorary day for an important member of most pharmacies’ staff: the pharmacy technician.

Each Tuesday of National Pharmacy Week is designated as National Pharmacy Technician Day. Pharmacy techs often perform vital duties in support of pharmacists, including things like:

  • Counting pills
  • Entering patient data
  • Interacting with customers
  • Explaining the use and effects of drugs and medical devices

This separate day gives patients and coworkers alike to thank pharmacy techs for all they do.

4. The “Rx” symbol is an abbreviation.

Unsurprisingly, most medieval European medical texts were written in Latin. It’s here where the modern “Rx” comes from in reference to medications. “Rx” was shorthand for “recipe”, which comes from the Latin verb “recipere”, meaning “to take”. It quite literally means “take this!” Keep this in mind the next time you receive a prescription—medication adherence is important for successful treatment.

5. As of 2021, Amoxicillin (Amoxil) is the most prescribed drug in the United States.

Most commonly used to treat bacterial infections, this penicillin antibiotic is a generic one, with several brand names available. The typical retail price reflects its frequent usage, as it costs $18.06 on average for 21, 500MG capsules. That’s a decent price for those without insurance, but it’s even lower if you do rely on an insurer or on legitimate discount coupons that can be found online.

6. There are a number of the rich and famous who were pharmacists or pharmacy techs before their stardom.

While most people probably don’t associate pharmacists with glitz and glamour, there have been more than a few notable figures who had ties to the industry. These include:

  • Best-selling novelist, Agatha Christie, who worked as a pharmacy technician and used her experience with medication in many of her mysterious plots
  • Founding Father Benjamin Franklin is credited with helping establish the first public hospital and first hospital pharmacy
  • John Pemberton, who is best remembered for creating America’s—and much of the world’s—favorite soft drink: Coca-Cola, which first sold at 5 cents a glass; although, it’s important to note his original recipe did, in fact, contain small amounts of cocaine
  • Former Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who served as a pharmacist in the 1930s before his career in politics would eventually land him in the Senate, where he would draft a bill for a health insurance program for the elderly—the first appearance of what would one day become Medicare

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