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The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) is the statutory regulatory and professional body for pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians in England, Scotland and Wales. Its headquarters are at 1 Lambeth High Street in the London Borough of Lambeth. There are also offices in Cardiff and Edinburgh.


Statutory Role

The primary objective of the RPSGB is to lead, regulate, develop and promote the pharmaceutical profession. All pharmacists in Great Britain (approximately 44,000) must be registered with the Society in order to practice. The Society is unusual amongst healthcare regulators in that it has its own inspectorate. To become a member of the Society an individual must usually have completed a MPharm or (if graduating before 2000) a BPharm or BSc (pharmacy) degree, 45 weeks of pre-registration training and pass a registration examination. This gives them the right to use the post-nominal letters MRPharmS (Member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society) and those who are on the society's register may practice as pharmacists in Great Britain. Fellowships (FRPharmS) may also be awarded. In 2008 it controversially increased its rates by nearly 50%.


The Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain was founded on April 15, 1841 by William Allen FRS, Jacob Bell, Daniel Hanbury, John Bell and other London chemists and druggists, at a meeting in the Crown and Anchor Tavern, Strand, London. William Allen was its first President, and the society quickly took premises at 17 Bloomsbury Square, London where a School of Pharmacy was established in which botany and materia medica were an important part of the students’ curriculum. In 1843, Queen Victoria granted the Society its Royal Charter. In 1988, Queen Elizabeth II agreed that the title "Royal" should be granted to the society.

Currently, the Government is in the process of moving the regulation of Pharmacy staff into line with that of other health care professional bodies. The RPSGB's role as professional body and regulator of the profession will be delegated to two different organisations, the new Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain and the General Pharmaceutical Council.


The society also operates the two divisions of RPS Publishing;-

  • The Pharmaceutical Press which publishes textbooks, and
  • PJ Publications, which publishes the weekly professional journal The Pharmaceutical Journal and the monthly Hospital Pharmacist.

Royal Pharmaceutical Society Museum

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has had a museum collection since 1842. The museum collected authentic and adulterated samples of crude drugs to demonstrate to students the difference between the two. The collection was used by students as well as researchers, importers, practitioners and manufacturers. Today, the exhibits cover all aspects of British pharmacy history, and include:

  • Traditional dispensing equipment.
  • Drug storage containers.
  • Fine "Lambeth delftware" dating from the 1600s and 1700s.
  • Proprietary (brand name) medicines dating from the 1700s to the present day.
  • Bronze mortars.
  • Medical caricatures.
  • A photo archive.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has always had a close relationship with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. In 1983 they donated over 10,000 historic specimens of materia medica, including crude drugs, herbarium sheets and slides to Kew. This material is now housed in the Economic Botany Collection (EBC) at Kew.[1] Since 2002 the Society has concentrated on developing the collection of historical and contemporary proprietary medicines. The museum may be visited by appointment.

The museum is a member of the London Museums of Health & Medicine.


See also

External links

Coordinates: 51°29′40″N 0°07′09″W / 51.4945°N 0.1192°W / 51.4945; -0.1192



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