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History of APhA

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Founded as the American Pharmaceutical Association on October 6, 1852, APhA today represents more than 62,000 practicing pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and others interested in advancing the profession.

Since its founding in Philadelphia, APhA has been the home for all of pharmacy. Virtually every pharmacy specialty organization traces its roots to APhA, including the National Community Pharmacy Association (founded in 1898 as the National Association of Retail Druggists), the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (founded in 1900 as the American Conference on Pharmaceutical Faculties), and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (founded in 1942 as the American Society of Hospital Pharmacists).

APhA’s reach goes far beyond the shores of the United States. An active participant in the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) since 1925, APhA has both hosted and attended dozens of meetings of pharmacists from around the world, and its staff and officers have held key positions in FIP and other international pharmacy organizations.

A spinoff of APhA’s centennial celebration was the APhA Foundation, created in 1953. The Foundation, recognized as a 501(c)3 charitable/educational nonprofit organization, conducts research demonstration projects, offers programs to pharmacists such as the Advanced Practice Institute, National Clinical Issues Forum, and the Incentive Grants for Practitioner Innovation in Pharmaceutical Care. The Foundation also hosts the Pinnacle Awards each year to recognize health professionals’ contributions to the health care system.

In the 1920s and 1930s, APhA was able to secure coveted land on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for construction of its national headquarters. Designed by famed architect John Russell Pope, the American Institute of Pharmacy was built at 23rd Street and Constitution Avenue and dedicated in 1934. An annex was constructed later, being dedicated in 1960. Today, the annex has been demolished and has made way for a new addition to the original Pope building, completed in 2009.

As it has done for more than 150 years, APhA continues today to lead the profession of pharmacy. Medication therapy management, a component of the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit launched in 2006, provides the means for pharmacists to complete the transformation of their profession from one focused on the drug product to a clinical service focused on the patient. Through the programs, publications, and services provided through APhA, pharmacists across America and around the world are in the forefront of making this change happen each day, one patient at a time. 
Learn more about the Historic APhA Headquarters Building.

APhA Chief Executive Officers poster

In 1852, the Association elected both a Recording Secretary and a Corresponding Secretary. A few years later, these positions were merged into a single office called "Permanent Secretary," creating the first Chief Executive Officer. Read more about the development of APhA's CEOs.





APhA Convention Badges booket

This booklet contains a selection of APhA convention badges worn by meeting registrants from 1880-1939. The name of the attendee did not appear on the badge until the 1920s. Before then, it was considered improper for individuals to wear badges displaying their names. Instead, badges often included a registration number. The attendees were provided booklets containing the names of the attendees and their corresponding registration number. The last badge in the booklet is from 1939. Beginning in 1940, badges consisted of less imaginative name tags encased in celluloid holders, often provided by a convention bureau.



JAPhA@100 booklet

In 2012, we celebrated the Journal’s 100th anniversary. From its humble beginnings to becoming one of pharmacy's leading journals, we commemorate its editors (past and present) with this unique booklet. James Hartley Beal, the first editor of the Journal, described its mission in 1912, “The American Pharmaceutical Association does not exist for the purpose of producing this publication, but the latter has been brought into existence to serve the necessities of the Association.”  Read more about the 100-year history of JAPhA.

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