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Pharmacist with precision scales

Pharmacist (from the Greek-Latin apot [h] Ecarius , such as "Kramer" or " grocer ", as the owner of apotheca ) are pharmacists , as professionals for delivering drugs are entitled. They deal in particular with the development , manufacture , testing and dispensing of pharmaceuticals, including advising consumers and other parties involved in the health care system (in Germany in accordance with Section 2 (3 ) BApO ). This requires profound knowledge of galenics , pharmacology , physiology , chemistry , biology , biochemistry , analytics and quality assurance , which are acquired in pharmacy studies . As an academic medical profession , the profession is one of the classic chamber professions .


750 years as a pharmacist: German postage stamp from 1991
Pharmacist in Bergen , Norway. 19th century

In Circa instans written in southern Italy , a text published in the 12th century from the school of Salerno , the apothecarii already critically warned against counterfeit medicines , these are exemplified and pharmacist criticism is exercised in relation to the fraudulent weighing of medicinal drugs, the preference for poorer goods and the substitution of cheap ingredients for more valuable ones. In 1231 the Staufer Emperor Frederick II initiated a set of laws compiled by numerous scholars, which was discussed as "Liber Augustalis" (also "Constitutiones regni utriusque Siciliae" - provisions for the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies) at the court day in Melfi (Basilicata) and from September 1231 became valid. In the following years there were numerous addenda, including around 1241 as the " Edict of Salerno " several paragraphs that concerned the medical system. In one of these supplements, the medical profession is differentiated from that of the pharmacist, who was often also active in therapy in the Middle Ages: Doctors may not own a pharmacy or be involved in it; Drug prices were set by law to prevent price gouging; the pharmacist had to take an oath. It can be assumed that pharmacists ( called confectionarii there) already existed in this or in the Mediterranean area, because legal regulation only requires something for which there is also a need for regulation, for example through overlapping occupational profiles. The job description of the apothecarius, who is distinguished from the doctor, is clearly tangible as early as 1100 in the so-called "Liber iste" (and around 1170 in the "Liber mitis" of Guido von Arezzo the Younger, who teaches medicine at the cathedral school of Parma). Even if the date 1241 is considered to be the "founding date" of the pharmacy: The Liber Augustalis was only valid in the Kingdom of Sicily. However, it influenced a number of legal ordinances also north of the Alps and ultimately became the model for pharmacy legislation throughout Europe.

In the German-speaking world, pharmacies and pharmacists in today's sense emerged in the course of the 14th century. In Würzburg, for example, the first “modern” pharmacist, Master Heinrich the Pharmacist, is documented from 1406.

One of the pharmacists important addition to Konrad shock of Aschaffenburg († around 1523) also active as a pharmaceutical specialist author and medical advisor of the German Middle Ages was at the pharmacy of Jacob Schwarzmurer in the house to Kiel active Zurich Pharmakognost Hans Minner (* around 1415/20; † after 1480).

Today, the pharmacist is undergoing extensive training in a multi-year study program , including on the following topics: drugs , drug production, drug testing, drug effects including interactions and side effects, as well as physiology and clinical pharmacy .

Protection cartridge

The patron saints of the pharmacists are the holy twin brothers Cosmas and Damian , who treated the sick free of charge, and the archangel Raphael .


In 2015 there were 62,575 working pharmacists (proportion of women: 69.3%) and 15,268 pharmacy students in Germany .

Pharmacists, like doctors, architects and lawyers, belong to the classic “ liberal professions ”; pharmacists complete a five-year course .

The operation of a pharmacy in the Federal Republic of Germany has been bound to the license of the operating pharmacist since 1960. The previously existing traditional licensing was declared unconstitutional.

Studies and further education


Pharmacy certificate from Rothenburg ob der Tauber, 1691.

The legal basis for pharmaceutical training in Germany is the Federal Pharmacist Regulations and the Licensing Regulations for Pharmacists. The training begins with studying pharmacy at a university and lasts at least eight semesters (four years). For the future pharmacist, the practical year (PJ) follows , of which at least six months must be completed in a public pharmacy. The rest of the time can also be spent outside (for example in a hospital pharmacy or in the pharmaceutical industry), whereby a pharmacist must be present as an authorized person.

After taking the third state examination, you can apply for a license to practice medicine, which entitles you to practice as a pharmacist. In addition to the exam, a doctor's certificate stating that you are fit to practice the pharmacist profession in terms of health and a police clearance certificate are required. The job title “pharmacist” may only be used after the license has been granted. In the event of serious misconduct (such as criminal offenses ), the state pharmacy supervision can have the license to practice withdrawn. Those affected are heard and can appeal .

In 2018 there were 15,894 pharmacy students at German universities. The proportion of women among the students is high; for example it was 73% in the winter semester 2009/10 and 70% in the winter semester 2014/15

further education

After completing your studies or starting your professional life, you have a wide range of opportunities for further training.

  • At some universities, a diploma thesis can be worked on after completing the second state examination (e.g. as part of the practical year). This lasts 6 months and ends with the academic degree of Diplom-Pharmaceut .
  • In addition, some universities also offer bachelor's and master's degrees. Masters courses usually last one year. You can start doing it after the second state examination in your practical year.
  • In addition, after completing the second state examination, a doctorate to Dr. rer. nat. (in Frankfurt am Main: Dr. phil. nat.) or Dr. rer. med . to be started. The doctorate usually lasts 3–5 years and improves the chances of getting a job in the pharmaceutical industry or at higher federal authorities such as the BfArM .
  • Following the license to practice medicine , further training to become a specialist pharmacist can take place. There is further training to become a pharmacist for general pharmacy , clinical pharmacy , drug information , pharmaceutical technology or pharmaceutical analysis as well as for toxicology and ecology . The further training period is usually three years. The conclusion is a technical discussion. Further training in the above-mentioned subject areas serves to deepen knowledge and skills and is required in some professional fields (e.g. hospital pharmacy). The use of a subject area is also required as part of the further training authorization. However, it does not allow any further legal responsibilities.
  • Regardless of the further training in a subject area, there is the possibility of acquiring an additional qualification in a specialization area . Additional qualifications can be acquired in the areas of nutritional advice , prevention & health promotion, naturopathy & homeopathy , oncological pharmacy, geriatric pharmacy and infectious diseases . The scope of training is less than for further training in one subject.

Average salary

In the public pharmacy in Germany, the monthly salary for a licensed employed pharmacist who is bound by collective bargaining agreements has been exactly EUR 3529 (in the 1st year of employment) to EUR 4,279 (from the 11th year of employment) with a working time of 40 hours per week and 34 Vacation days. These numbers apply in almost all chamber districts. In North Rhine-Westphalia, from January 1, 2020, it is exactly 3511 euros (1st – 2nd year of employment) to 4,202 euros (from the 10th year of employment).

As a rule, however, significantly higher non-tariff salaries are negotiated, also due to the current shortage of pharmacists in Germany. Since 2013, the Federal Employment Agency has identified a reported deficit of pharmacists and has declared this to be a “shortage occupation”.

The remuneration of employed pharmacy staff is regulated by the salary tariff. The collective agreements in pharmacy are concluded between ADEXA - Die Apothekengewerkschaft, and the ADA (Employers' Association of German Pharmacies) or the collective bargaining association of pharmacy managers (TGL) North Rhine.

Higher salaries are paid in hospital pharmacies, in the pharmaceutical industry starting salaries of 40,000–50,000 euros / year (without doctorate) or 50,000–65,000 euros / year (with doctorate) are common. In state and federal authorities, employed or civil servant pharmacists are paid either according to the TVÖD and the corresponding civil servant salary. Entry levels are levels E 13 and A 13.

Official pharmacist

Another job is as an official pharmacist. Depending on the federal state, these are permanent or civil servant pharmacists whose task is to monitor the proper operation of public pharmacies, hospital pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies. In some federal states, this function is also carried out by voluntary pharmacists who are paid as honorary officials according to a fee schedule for their service and usually work as pharmacists in another location of the responsible chamber district , often even in an independent function. Monitoring activities include B. also the control of supermarkets, drugstores and other retail outlets to determine whether goods or items are offered there that are subject to pharmacy obligations and may not be offered there. Compliance with the regulations of the employers' liability insurance association is also the responsibility of the pharmacy supervision . The official pharmacist also takes over the work in the pharmacy area of ​​the trade supervisory authority , not least because the pharmacy operating regulations are part of the trade regulations . The pharmacy , viewed as a company, is a business enterprise that is subject to business tax.

Qualified Person

The pharmacist can have a special responsibility in the function of the so-called qualified person (QP) . The legally stipulated suitability for this requires, in addition to a two-year activity in drug testing, the license to practice as a pharmacist (alternatively, a university degree in chemistry , biology , human or veterinary medicine plus proof of extensive knowledge in various basic pharmaceutical subjects is possible). The competent person is ultimately responsible for ensuring that each production batch of a medicinal product has been manufactured and tested in accordance with statutory regulations. It must certify compliance with these regulations for each pharmaceutical batch in a continuous register or a comparable document before it is placed on the market .


The apprenticeship to become a pharmacist takes place through a degree in pharmacy, which is completed with a diploma. You can study in Austria at the universities of Graz , Innsbruck and Vienna . The prerequisite for study is the school leaving examination and, in certain cases, additional exams in biology and / or Latin.

A minimum duration of 9 semesters is required by law. The course is divided into three sections. The first part of the course comprises two semesters, the second five semesters and the third two semesters. Each section ends with a diploma examination.

You can only become self-employed and run a pharmacy in Austria after five years as an employed pharmacist.

According to the Austrian Pharmacy Act, non-Austrian EFTA citizens are not able to set up a new pharmacy. They can only obtain a pharmacy license for a pharmacy that has been in operation for at least three years.


The apprenticeship as a pharmacist in Switzerland is the pharmacy degree.

The course is offered at the University of Basel, the ETH in Zurich and the University of Geneva.

The course is divided into a 3-year bachelor's level and a 1.5 to 2-year master's level, with two different degrees: the master's in pharmacy (for federally certified pharmacists) and the master's in pharmaceutical sciences (industrial focus) .

In Switzerland, specialist pharmacist training is mandatory in order to be able to work independently.

Areas of activity for pharmacists

Depiction of a pharmacist (Löwen-Apotheke Niederhöchstadt).

Most pharmacists work in public pharmacies. In addition to the pharmacy, there are other professional fields such as the hospital pharmacy , public administration (authorities or offices in the areas of health, licensing, military, ministries, universities), health insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry . In the pharmacies they take care of the pharmaceutical care of the patients.

In the pharmaceutical industry, the areas of responsibility for pharmacists are diverse. Traditionally, they encompass the areas of research and development of new drugs and drug manufacturing and drug testing. The pharmacist can have a special responsibility in the function of the so-called competent person (Germany) or technically responsible person (Switzerland).

In marketing , in the area of ​​regulatory affairs and in the function of information officer , the pharmacist opens up additional fields of activity.

Well-known pharmacists

With the isolation of the alkaloid morphine as the (main) active ingredient of opium for the first time , Friedrich Wilhelm Sertürner made great progress around 1805 towards more precise pain therapy .

August Oetker (1862–1918) was the inventor of the usable baking powder ("Backin") and founder of the Dr. Oetker . The founders of many German pharmaceutical companies such as Ernst Schering (founder of the predecessor company of Schering AG ), Emanuel Merck (founder of Merck KGaA ), Friedrich Pascoe or Carl Leverkus (founder of the predecessor company of Bayer AG and namesake of the city of Leverkusen ) were pharmacists like John Pemberton , the inventor of the Coca-Cola recipe. The pharmacist Felix Hoffmann played a key role in the development of aspirin for Bayer.

Max von Pettenkofer (1818–1901), pharmacist and doctor, was the founder of the Max von Pettenkofer Institute in Munich.

Other well-known pharmacists are the “father of woodchip wallpaperHeinrich Wilhelm Hugo Erfurt (1834–1922), the “ cement mixerGustav Ernst Leube (1808–1881), James Parkinson (namesake of Parkinson's disease ), the Briton John Langdon-Down ( 1828–1896) (namesake of Down syndrome ), Nostradamus and the Austrian poet Georg Trakl (1887–1914), who, however, became more and more addicted to the consumption of intoxicants through his work in the pharmacy, which had shaped his life before and then also in drove to death.

Some pharmacists are known as writers ( Ludwig Bechstein , Theodor Fontane , Georg Trakl ), others as painters ( Carl Spitzweg ).

Johann Bartholomäus Trommsdorff made particular contributions to the training of pharmacists in the 19th century . Magdalena Meub (later Neff) was the first student to study pharmacy at the TH Karlsruhe and, after graduating in 1905, was the first licensed pharmacist in Germany.

See also

Portal: Medicine  - Overview of Wikipedia content on medicine


  • Willem Frans Daems : The terms technici apoteca and apotecarius in the Middle Ages. In: Publications of the International Society for the History of Pharmacy. New Series, Volume 8, 1956, pp. 39-52.
  • Rudolf Schmitz : History of Pharmacy . With the collaboration of Franz-Josef Kuhlen. Volume I: From the beginning to the end of the Middle Ages . Govi-Verlag, Eschborn / Ts. 1998, ISBN 3-7741-0706-8 .
  • Rudolf Schmitz: History of Pharmacy . Continued by Christoph Friedrich and Wolf-Dieter Müller-Jahncke . Volume II: From the early modern era to the present . Govi-Verlag, Eschborn / Ts. 2005, ISBN 3-7741-1027-1 .
  • Rudolf Schmitz: On the development history and sociology of the German pharmacy class in the high and late Middle Ages. In: Publications of the International Society for the History of Pharmacy. New episode, 13, 1958, pp. 157-165.
  • Peter Dilg, Guido Jüttner, Wolf-Dieter Müller-Jahncke, Paul U. Innschuld (eds.): Perspectives of the history of pharmacy. Festschrift Rudolf Schmitz. Graz 1983.
  • Christoph Friedrich: Pharmacists remember . Autobiographies from three centuries. Govi-Verlag, 2007, ISBN 978-3-7741-1072-4 .
  • Gundolf Keil: "master lôrenz, des keisers apotêker". Notes on the medical prose of German pharmacists of the Middle Ages. In: Werner Dressendörfer, Wolf-Dieter Müller-Jahncke (Ed.): Orbis pictus. Festschrift Wolfgang-Hagen Hein. Frankfurt am Main 1985, pp. 183-186.
  • Hugo Maubach: The character image of the pharmacist in literature. Springer, Berlin 1898. ( Digitized edition of the University and State Library Düsseldorf )
  • Mikulas Simon: The social position of pharmacists in Zurich's urban society in the Middle Ages and early modern times. (= Sources and studies on the history of pharmacy. 24). Stuttgart 1983.
  • Wolfgang-Hagen Hein , Holm-Dieter Schwarz (Ed.): German pharmacist biography . (= Publications of the International Society for the History of Pharmacy. New Series, Volumes 43, 46, 55 and 60). 2 volumes and 2 supplementary volumes. Stuttgart 1975-1997.
  • Peter Dilg, Guido Jüttner: Pharmaceutical terminology. The technical language of the pharmacist. Frankfurt am Main 1972.

Web links

Commons : Pharmacist  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Apotheker  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Konrad Goehl , Gundolf Keil : "apothecarii nostri temporis" - A criticism of the pharmacy booth from the early days of pharmacy. In: Würzburg medical history reports. Volume 14, 1996, pp. 261-267.
  2. Konrad Goehl: Observations and additions to the 'Circa instans'. In: Medical historical messages. Journal for the history of science and specialist prose research. Volume 34, 2015 (2016), pp. 69–77, here: pp. 71–73.
  3. Gundolf Keil: On the question of the curative and advisory activity of the medieval German pharmacist. In: Peter Dilg u. a. (Ed.): Perspektiven der Pharmaziegeschichte. Festschrift Rudolf Schmitz. Graz 1983, pp. 181-196.
  4. Wolfgang-Hagen Hein, Kurt Sappert: The medical order of Friedrich II. A study of the history of pharmaceuticals. (= Publications of the Society for the History of Pharmacy. , New Volume 12). Eutin 1957, p. 19 f.
  5. Konrad Goehl , Gundolf Keil: Guido von Arezzo the Younger. In: Lexicon of the Middle Ages . Volume 4, Munich / Zurich 1989, Sp, 1773 f.
  6. Konrad Goehl: Guido d'Arezzo the Younger and his 'Liber mitis'. (= Würzburg medical historical research. Volume 32). 2 volumes. Horst Wellm, Pattensen / Han. 1984, ISBN 3-921456-61-4 .
  7. Konrad Goehl, Gundolf Keil : "apothecarii nostri temporis". A criticism of the pharmacy booth from the early days of pharmacy. In: Würzburg medical history reports. Volume 14, 1996, pp. 261-267.
  8. Armin Wankmüller : On the question of the separation of the medical and pharmaceutical professions in Germany. In: Medical monthly. Volume 7, 1953, pp. 590-594.
  9. ^ Peter Kolb: The hospital and health system. In: Ulrich Wagner (Hrsg.): History of the city of Würzburg. 4 volumes, Volume I-III / 2 (I: From the beginnings to the outbreak of the Peasant War. 2001, ISBN 3-8062-1465-4 ; II: From the Peasant War 1525 to the transition to the Kingdom of Bavaria 1814. 2004, ISBN 3 -8062-1477-8 ; III / 1–2: From the transition to Bavaria to the 21st century. 2007, ISBN 978-3-8062-1478-9 ), Theiss, Stuttgart 2001–2007, Volume 1, 2001, p 386-409 and 647-653, here: p. 407 f. ( Pharmacist ).
  10. Ursula Schmitz: Hans Minner's 'Thesaurus medicaminum'. Pharmaceutical historical studies on an Alemannic drug science of the late Middle Ages. (= Sources and studies on the history of pharmacy. Volume 13). jal-Verlag, Würzburg 1974, ISBN 3-7778-0096-1 . (Mathematical-natural science dissertation Marburg an der Lahn 1973)
  11. ^ Gundolf Keil: Minner, Hans. In: Author's Lexicon . 2nd Edition. Volume 6, Col. 585-593.
  12. ^ Gundolf Keil: Minner, Hans. In: Werner E. Gerabek , Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil, Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , p. 994 f.
  13. Gundolf Keil: "blutken - bloedekijn". Notes on the etiology of the hyposphagma genesis in the 'Pommersfeld Silesian Eye Booklet' (1st third of the 15th century). With an overview of the ophthalmological texts of the German Middle Ages. In: Specialized prose research - Crossing borders. Volume 8/9, 2012/2013, pp. 7–175, here: pp. 116–118.
  14. ABDA: numbers data facts. Retrieved February 2, 2017 .
  15. ^ Ralf Bröer: Medical legislation / medical law. In: Werner E. Gerabek , Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil , Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , pp. 942-950; here: p. 943.
  16. Degrees: Gender distribution in selected courses at universities in Germany 2018. Accessed on January 22, 2020 .
  17. Pharmacy studies increasingly popular with women. ( Memento of December 11, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) at:
  18. Berliner Morgenpost- Berlin: Most women study pharmacy. October 11, 2015, accessed on January 22, 2020 (German).
  19. The way to the master. In: Pharmaceutical newspaper. 06/2006.
  20. Manuela Hirche: Doctoral Office - Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin: Dr. rer. medic. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on February 2, 2017 ; accessed on February 2, 2017 .
  21. Further education offers of the LAK Hessen ( Memento from August 15, 2004 in the Internet Archive ), shown as an example
  22. Specialization Areas, at:; accessed on July 17, 2020.
  23. a b ADEXA - tariff policy. Retrieved January 22, 2020 .
  24. ^ Avoxa media group Deutscher Apotheker GmbH: Young talent problem: shortage of pharmacists. Retrieved January 22, 2020 .
  25. ^ Austrian Chamber of Pharmacists , → Professions in the pharmacy → Pharmacist → Pharmacist: The study, the job
  27. Dr Helga Blasius (hb): Pharmacists need further training to be able to represent. January 22, 2019, accessed January 22, 2020 .
  28. Brochure of the DPhG : Pharmaceutical fields of activity outside the pharmacy. ( Memento from August 18, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 6.5 MB) As of 2006.