The History of the Pharmaceutical Industry in America: The Ultimate Web Guide

If you’re a medical professional, such as a radiologist, a nurse or a doctor, you know that pharmaceutical drugs are important factors in saving lives. But, as an industry, controversy often boils over everything from how schools teach this trade to animal testing scandals. The following Web guide to the history of the pharmaceutical industry in America touches briefly on every success and every perceived failure within this industry.

Schools and Organizations

  1. American Institute of the History of PharmacyAmerican Institute of the History of Pharmacy: The documentation and preservation of pharmacy’s heritage is the primary aim of the Institute.
  2. Departmental History: A short history about the McGill University and its Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics, which dates back to 1824.
  3. Department of Biological Chemistry & Molecular Pharmacology: Harvard University offers a short history about their features.
  4. Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology: Indiana University goes into detail by decades illustrating their history and impact on the pharmaceutical industry.
  5. History of Department of Pharmacology: The Department of Pharmacology in Temple University School of Medicine has a long and proud tradition that dates back over 95 years.
  6. History of Neuroscience and Neuropharmacology in the Department: This short history, which notes faculty members, comes from the Yale School of Medicine.
  7. History of Nuclear Pharmacy: This is a short illustrated history of the engagement with nuclear pharmacy from Purdue University.
  8. History of the Southern College of Pharmacy — Mercer University Southern School of Pharmacy: Resources from the Pharmacy School archives, housed in Swilley Library on the Cecil B. Day Campus of Mercer University, were used to create this history.
  9. International Society for the History of Pharmacy: The International Society for the History of Pharmacy was founded 1926. The society is established to form an international center for handling all matters of a pharmaceutical historical nature without commercial interests.
  10. The American Pharmacists Association: A short history: Founded as the American Pharmaceutical Association in 1852, APhA today represents more than 60,000 practicing pharmacists and others interested in advancing the profession.
  11. UAMS History: The University of Arkansas provides an illustrated history about their Pharmacology and Toxicology Department.


  1. Pharma ReviewsA Brief History of Great Discoveries in Pharmacology: Written in celebration of the centennial anniversary of the founding of the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
  2. A brief history of pharmacology: Stanley Scheindlin, D.Sc., wrote this article and provided several suggested readings.
  3. A history of: The pharmaceutical industry: A brief, yet relevant history of the Pharm Industry by Robin Walsh, a freelance writer on healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry.
  4. A Recent History Of The Pharmaceutical Industry – Based On All Five Force: This content comes from The New Business Road Test by Professor John Mullins of the London Business School.
  5. The Truth About the Rockefeller Drug Empire: The Drug Story: Taken from the CIVIS Foundation Report number 15, Fall-Winter 1993 CIVIS: POB 152, Via Motta 51-CH 6900, Massagno/Lugano, Switzerland.
  6. History of the Pharmaceutical Drug Business: The Drug Trust: This article covers the drug business in 1987, showing that the U.S. maintained an “overwhelming lead in the production and sale of drugs.”
  7. How the American pharmaceutical industry transformed itself during the 1940s [PDF]: This history offered by the Center for Culture, Organization, and Politics, Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California, Berkeley.
  8. John Jacob Abel: The Fifth Horseman: Also known as “the father of American pharmacology.”
  9. The Pharmaceutical Industry [PDF]: This is chapter nine in the book, Against Intellectual Monopoly, by Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine.

Industry History

  1. BayerBayer History: A timeline of biographies notable to the history of Bayer AG.
  2. Bristol-Myers Squibb History: This timeline shows how this company traced their beginnings back 150 years to a brick building in Brooklyn, New York.
  3. Eli Lilly and Company History: Eli Lilly and Company has been in business more than 132 years. The global, research-based company was founded in May 1876 by Colonel Eli Lilly in Indianapolis, Ind., in the Midwestern section of the United States.
  4. FDA History: The Food and Drug Administration is the oldest comprehensive consumer protection agency in the U. S. federal government.
  5. GPhA Industry History: The Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA) itself was founded in 2001, following the merger of three industry trade organizations: the Generic Pharmaceutical Industry Association, the National Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers, and the National Pharmaceutical Alliance.
  6. Our History — How it Began [PDF]: Proctor & Gamble documents the history of their corporation in this one-page file.
  7. Pfizer History: This history of Pfizer includes a timeline and a “Gallery of Leaders” that spans over a century, since 1849.
  8. The history of Merck: Information about the history of the oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company in the world, and a link to an interactive “voyage through Merck’s history.”


  1. Drug Industry Document Archive: Most of these previously secret internal documents were made public as a result of lawsuits against a number of pharmaceutical companies.
  2. History of the War on Drugs: This timeline shows how politics played a part indrug regulation.
  3. Pharmaceutical Industry Overview: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides a detailed analysis of this industry.
  4. Pharmaceutical industry: SourceWatch provides a wiki entry on this industry, including a long list of articles and drug manufacturers.
  5. Pharmacy Museum: An inside look at the museum, housed at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy. The museum opened in 1966 in the old Pharmacy/Microbiology building on Main Campus and was moved to the current College of Pharmacy Building at the Arizona Health Sciences Center in 1982.
  6. The Animal Experimentation Scandal: Animal experimentation is an issue that has been the center of controversy for almost two decades.
  7. The War on Drugs, A Brief History: This 2009 article in Time online states that “within the past 40 years, the U.S. government has spent over $2.5 trillion dollars fighting the War on Drugs.”
  8. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, 1970 – 1975: This history details the DEA’s perspective on federal drug law enforcement in the early 1970s.
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