The history of pharmacy practice in France focuses on how the profession and medical institutions have revolutionized over time. Pharmacy and medicine in France were defined by and conducted by, the Catholic Church.
Actually, both pharmacy and medical care were one of the many benevolent schemes of the church. During the French Revolution, fresh ideas took hold within the world of pharmacy ( Geoallo pharmacie ouverte ) were made more scientific. Paris Medicine was a term being used to define the series of changes that occurred in pharmacy and health care during the period of the French Revolution. Ideas from the Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution were introduced into the medical and pharmacy field.
Three Strands of European Pharmacy and Medical History
In the history of pharmacy education, the first aspect was the relentless progression of the ‘Black Death’ through Europe in the 14th century. The journey followed the Plague’s path from the great Mediterranean ports of Venice, Genoa, and Pisa north to the cities of Lyon, Paris and London. All these were wealthy, densely populated trading cities, and so became the Black Death’s epicenters. It is logical therefore that in the effort to battle the disease, they played an imperative role in the emergence and improvement of modern medicine and pharmacy.
The second strand of pharmacy and medicine history to be explored was the origin of Renaissance medicine and pharmacy in northern Italy and France. This genesis saw the birth of an analytical approach that gradually took the place of medieval recourse. Majority of these activities took place between Renaissance and the 19th-century scientific revolution.
The third strand was the surfacing of modern scientific medicine and pharmacy practice in the 19th century. It was characterized by the use of computerized treatment and data handling activities. Almost all pharmacies and hospitals in France had computers to aid in all the undertakings. Some of the computers used were taken to the Claude Bernard Museum in St Julien-en-Beaujolais, Louis Pasteur’s house in Paris.
Trends in Pharmacy and Medical Education
As research became part of the hospital system, pharmacy and medical education also claimed a bigger responsibility in pharmacies and hospitals. In the year 1785, the Hôtel-Dieu de Paris established a strict training process, including both demonstrations and hands-on experience for pharmacists. This was meant to move away from separate fields of medicine and surgery. The lack of qualified surgeons was followed by the unprecedented range of casualties in the revolution motivated pharmacy and medical education reforms.
Pharmacy students regularly assisted their instructors in the hospital pharmacies. This was mainly aimed at addressing the issues of understaffing in the pharmacy profession in France. By 1794, Revolutionary Government set guidelines that were specifically formulated and defined by Joseph-Ignace Guillotin and Félix Vicq-d’Azyr. These guidelines formally asserted the importance of hospitals to be regarded as the principal institution of pharmacy and medical training.
Diagnosis and the Classification of Disease
As the field of pharmacy and medicine transformed, various means of diagnosis became increasingly evidence-based and uncongenial. The factors that were to be considered in diagnosis henceforth shifted away from patient’s narratives in favor of physician’s observations.
Doctors in that era, including François Victor Mérat de Vaumartoise, noted the likelihood of patients exaggerating in their description of symptoms and pain. This would, in turn, cause an inability of the doctors to accurately come up with a diagnosis as well as pharmacists not making the correct prescription. More important, however, the systematic and empirical observations of the patient were to be made. Beyond basic diagnosis inspection, pharmacists used palpitation, percussion, and auscultation to identify abnormalities in a patient. Examination and empirical knowledge of Pathological anatomy replaced the role of the patient’s account in the procedure of diagnosis. Accurate diagnosis was also seen as evidence of scientific authenticity.
Impact of Revolution in Pharmacy Practice
The restructuring of the Parisian government during the French Revolution caused the subsequent disruption of the Parisian medical system. At least 20 hospitals in France were updated to keep up with pharmacy, medical, and technological progress in the 19th century. These hospitals played a very important role in discovering and elaborating the vast medical knowledge through experimentation and research. Afterward, the knowledge could be disseminated through the teaching of what became known as the Paris School of medicine. The Paris School came incorporate a high concentration of talented and innovative clinicians. These are the likes of celebrated figures led by Jean-Nicholas Corvisart, Philippe Pinel, and Marie Bichat.
Another outstanding trend was the separation of religion and pharmacy. Prior to the Revolution, pharmacies, and hospitals were religious institutions where the ill would seek consolation. For example, the Sisters of Charity run the Hôpital de la Charité which was seized by the revolutionary regime and was restructured to emphasize learning through clinical experience and observation. This was as opposed to strict book learning techniques. However, the ultimate division of religion and pharmacy and medicine was not to last forever. As early as 1801, Jean-Antoine Chaptal called the Sisters of Charity to reopen their hospitals. The Parisian infrastructure could not handle the enormous influx of patients into their hospitals and pharmacies. Unfortunately, the Sisters refused! However, nurses came back into practice and were ready to play a similar role as the pre-Revolution nurses.
The course of action of pharmacies continued to change even after the turn of the century. The government instated a new policy of pharmacy admission. A central office was created at Hotel Dieu that triaged all patients within Paris. It would also redirect them to the appropriate hospital for treatment and dental ( centre d’appel geoallo ) services. This triaging would account for the unforeseen demand for medical education. Moreover, it would often send patients to fill up learning pharmacies and hospitals such as the Charite. This centralization worked poorly and was short-lived.
A number of pharmacies and medical advancements continued throughout the 19th century. The stethoscope was discovered by Rene Laennec in 1813, which he then used in combination with the discovery of tubercles in the lungs. This led to a new diagnostic style for identifying tuberculosis. These trends can be linked to more transformation into the field of pharmacy. 24 hours pharmacies have changed into what they are today from the revolution discussed above. In many cases, the management of a pharmacy could also implement a change that would be good for business.