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Last year was the centenary of the National Pharmacy Association; here’s a potted history of community pharmacy since 1921

The National Pharmacy Association was 100 years old last year. The NPA began life as the Retail Pharmacists Union in 1921 and has since grown to become the leading voice of independent community pharmacy across the UK.

Here’s a potted history of community pharmacy since then:



The Retail Pharmacists Union is formed (later to become the National Pharmacy Association). 


Legislation lists poisons that can only be sold in accordance with a prescription given by a doctor, dentist or veterinary surgeon.


Formation of the National Health Service. People can get free prescriptions so there is much more dispensing in pharmacies


Legislation ensures services provided under contract to the NHS in community pharmacies and by community pharmacists are regulated in part by the NHS.


In the aftermath of the thalidomide disaster, thexa Yellow Card scheme is introduced to report adverse drug reactions.


Pharmacy students get work experience after their studies and can put their knowledge into practice; what is now called pre-registration.


New medicines have to be approved and licensed before being allowed on to the market.


Regulations restrict the opening of new pharmacies. They now have to prove that their NHS service is ‘necessary or desirable’.




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