A brief history of fake medicines: ancient Greeks and ‘trashy elixirs’

By Matthew Johnston, RPS Museum

On 9 February the Falsified Medicines Directive will come into force, making it harder for fake prescription medicines to reach patients. Although this is the latest piece of legislation to tackle counterfeit medicines, the problem is far from a new one.

For as long as branded medicines have been around, authenticity has been important. As early as 500 BC, priestesses on the Greek island of Lemnos supplied tablets of medicinal clay, stamped with a special seal while still wet, in order to guarantee they were the genuine article. Read more A brief history of fake medicines: ancient Greeks and ‘trashy elixirs’

Driving under the influence of drugs

Ash_Soni_0411by Ash Soni, Vice-Chair, English Pharmacy Board

Driving under the influence of drugs is an offence.  If you think this just means illegal drugs such as cannabis or cocaine, you’d be wrong.  The law doesn’t distinguish between illegal drugs and prescription medicines for genuine illnesses.

The  government is consulting  on plans to introduce a new offence of driving with a drug in the body, above a certain limit, to tackle the issue of drug-driving. Read more Driving under the influence of drugs

Behind the scenes: BBC filming ‘Addicted to pleasure’ at the RPS Museum

By John Betts, RPS Museum Officer

Earlier this year a BBC production team spent 2 days filming our current controlled drugs display at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Museum, for the ‘Addicted to Pleasure’ series. Read more Behind the scenes: BBC filming ‘Addicted to pleasure’ at the RPS Museum

Human body enhancement – lessons from the past

By John Betts, Royal Pharmaceutical Society Museum Officer

Sections of human skull, a packet of Viagra, strychnine and anabolic steroids – both used in the past as doping substances in sport, and examples of Victorian medicines and pharmacy equipment – these are some of the objects the RPS Museum has recently lent to exhibitions and displays currently on in London. It is really interesting to see that curators from the Wellcome Collection, the Florence Nightingale Museum and the 2012 Olympic Games site are using our objects for their exhibitions and displays in new, fascinating, and sometimes unexpected ways. Read more Human body enhancement – lessons from the past