Resource Guide - From Snake Oil to Vaccines: Pharmacy History in Washington State

Updated: Apr 14

Thank you for your interest in this Saturday Speaker Series presentation! We hope you enjoyed this informative discussion with John Oftebro and will consider joining us for future events.




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Resources for April 2021 Speaker series
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Learn more about "Collaborative Care" by reading excerpts from the Washington State Pharmacy Association (WSPA) submitted to the Washington State Attorney General in 2018 to frame the expansion of care as efforts to address unmet patient needs.

Collaborative Care by Pharmacists in WA
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Timeline of Events that Changed the Practice of Pharmacy

1890 – Washington Pharmacy Law - Washington became the 42nd state in November of 1889. Washington State Pharmacy Association was formed in 1890 by the then 157 drug stores in the state. By 1890 the organization was successful in helping establish a pharmacy law that required registration books kept in the pharmacy for the sale of poisons, alcohol, wines, and spiritous liquors; and also required labeling of all poisons. The law included creating a Board of Pharmacy to self-regulate the profession[1].


1906 – The Pure Food and Drug Act - Responding to outcries from Upton Sinclair’s book, The Jungle, that described the horrific unsanitary conditions in the meat-packing industry, Congress established this act, and it was the first in a series of consumer protection laws. It mandated labeling of active ingredients for drug packaging and standards for drug purity.


1919 – Prohibition - The 19th amendment outlawed alcohol nationally (1916 in Washington state), but still allowed pharmacists to sell “medicinal liquor”. Sixty-five new drugstores opened in Seattle in the first 3 months of 1916! This remedy was made illegal in 1917, but “wine tonics” containing up to 22 percent alcohol were the exception[2].


1938 - FDA – Remember Thalidomide? - The Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938 evolved from the 1906 law to oversee the safety of food, drugs, medical devices and cosmetics. More than 100 deaths from a sulfonamide medication stimulated laws to control all aspects of drug research, manufacturing and marketing. It kept Thalidomide off the American market after it caused thousands of birth defects from use in Europe.


1965 – Medicare – President Lyndon Johnson signed this bill at the Truman Library while Vice President and former licensed pharmacist, Hubert Humphry looked on. Former President Truman was the first beneficiary who first proposed a national health insurance program in 1945. Pharmacy joined the coverage in 2006 as Medicare Part D.


1970 - Child Resistant Containers - As part of the 1970 Poison Prevention Packaging Act signed by President Nixon, this mandated all kinds of safety packaging of household cleaners, solvents and other hazardous materials that were accessible to children. It also included child-resistant packaging for prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. Annual poisonings and deaths of children decreased drastically.


1971 - Drug Interactions - Drs. Phillip Hansten (WSU) and John Horn (UW) authored their first edition of Drug Interactions in 1971 and have since sold over 1 million copies worldwide. Their work evolved into the “safety net” of ALL on-line pharmacy dispensing systems to alert pharmac