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Galenics is originally the study of the composition and preparation or manufacture of drugs . The pharmaceutical name refers to the Greek doctor Galenos (German Galen ), who lived in the 2nd century AD and also wrote pharmaceutical writings. In modern pharmaceutical production, the term pharmaceutical technology , which has been expanded in terms of both quantity and quality, is often used instead , but the traditional term galenics is still used in relation to the “composition and manufacture of pharmaceuticals” .

A medicinal substance ( drug ) is not yet a drug. The active ingredient must be brought into a specific drug form (dosage form) together with auxiliary substances , for example as tablets, liquid drugs or cream, so that it can be administered to the patient. The preparation time and the concentration of the active ingredients in the blood plasma can also be influenced by the preparation with auxiliary substances and the type of administration. The relationship between the galenical-dependent properties of drugs and their effects in the body is being researched in biopharmaceuticals .


The medicaments treated by Galen in his pharmacotherapeutic works ("Galenic remedies") are based on the ancient theory of the soul and the concept of humoral-pathological theory of humors . They include elementary drugs representing the elementary qualities (warm, cold, moist, dry), combined (warm-humid, cold-humid, warm-dry, cold-dry), drugs differentiated by their degrees of warmth and specific, immediate (purging) Effect (drainage, vomiting, dehydration) causing agents.

Since the emergence of the pharmacist's profession, the manufacture of pharmaceuticals has been one of its own activities and has always been the focus of pharmacist training. Since the 18th century there have been courses on drug production in private pharmaceutical institutes and some universities . For example Heinrich Wilhelm Ferdinand Wackenroder , who taught pharmacy at the University of Jena and attached great importance to the manufacture of pharmaceutical preparations .

From the second half of the 19th century, chemical investigations developed into the pharmacist's main field of work, so that the imparting of knowledge and skills in galenics was almost exclusively reserved for the apprenticeship.

A pharmaceutical industry emerged in Germany in the last third of the 19th century . The pharmacist Eugen Dieterich, for example, published new scientific results on manufacturing processes, value determination methods and large-scale manufacturing since 1886. However, these results were initially not taken into account in pharmaceutical university education. Even up to the beginning of the 20th century, galenics was not part of university education.

The emergence of pharmaceutical factories, especially the production of finished medicinal products , led to a reduction in the pharmacists' manufacturing monopoly. Thereupon attempts were made to promote the production of finished medicinal products in pharmacies and to impart this knowledge again in university education. For example, in 1937 a professorial office and institute for applied pharmacy was established at the Technical University of Braunschweig . The pharmacist Walther Kern , who had belonged to the NSDAP since the 1920s , took over the management of this institute and also contributed to the establishment of the subject of galenics with his textbook “Applied Pharmacy”.

At other German universities, the classes required by the examination regulations were offered. Occasionally there were also publications on pharmaceutical issues, but pharmaceutical technology could only be institutionalized after 1945.

After 1945 the individual universities in the Federal Republic had to fight again to establish pharmaceutical technology. The galenic knowledge and skills required in the pharmacy were considered “craft” and should be learned during the pre-study internship. The Braunschweig Technical University was an exception , where a full professorship and its own institute for pharmaceutical technology were established in 1959. At other universities, Extraordinariats were initially set up. This was also the case in 1956 in Munich, where Elsa Ullmann, the first woman to qualify as a professor in pharmaceutical technology, was appointed. In 1963 further associate professorships followed at the Technical University of Karlsruhe and at the Universities of Marburg , Würzburg in 1965 and Frankfurt and Münster in 1966 . Own chairs were created in 1966 in Hamburg and Marburg and in 1967 at the Technical University in Karlsruhe.

In the GDR , the director of the Pharmaceutical Institute Fritz Weiß (1894–1965) at the Humboldt University in Berlin , unlike other pharmaceutical chemists, was committed to the establishment of pharmaceutical technology. In 1957 he invited to the first workshop on pharmaceutical technology and drug form theory in Berlin. In 1961, a department for galenics and pharmaceutical technology was established at the Humboldt University in Berlin, headed by Rudolf Voigt . Rudolf Voigt became one of the first representatives of this subject in the GDR.

Figurative meanings

In a figurative sense, pharmacists and medical professionals refer to the dosage form or the properties of a drug which are dependent on the dosage form as its "galenics", for example: " Metformin in a new galenics with better tolerance".

In pharmaceutical companies , the premises in which drugs are manufactured are known as galenics .

Related terms

  • A Galenikum (plural Galenika ) is according to Duden a medicine in the pharmacy of drugs is prepared, so from ingredients from animals, plants or other organisms that contain medically effective substances.
  • The dosage form is also referred to as the dosage form or galenic form .


  • Rudolf Schmitz: History of Pharmacy . Ed .: Christoph Friedrich, Wolf-Dieter Müller-Jahncke. tape 2 . Govi-Verlag, Eschborn 2005, ISBN 978-3-7741-1027-4 , p. 675-679 .
  • Jürgen Friedland: Dosage form theory for PTA: with 33 tables; with CD-ROM revision course on drug form theory . 7., revised. and updated edition Wiss. Verl.-Ges, Stuttgart 2013, ISBN 978-3-8047-3093-9 .
  • Ursula Schöffling: Dosage Forms Theory: a textbook of galenics for theory and practice; with 89 tables (=  paperback PTA series ). 6., revised. and exp. Ed. Dt. Apotheker-Verl, Stuttgart 2015, ISBN 978-3-7692-6085-4 .
  • Ingfried Zimmermann: Galenics or how an active ingredient becomes a drug . Chemistry in our time, VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, 4/1989 and 5/1989.
  • Wolf-Dieter Müller-Jahncke : Galenic remedies. In: Werner E. Gerabek u. a. (Ed.): Encyclopedia of medical history. , Walter de Gruyter, 2005, p. 446 f.

References and comments

  1. Duden online: Galenics
  2. Wolf-Dieter Müller-Jahncke (2005), p. 447.
  3. especially De compositione medicamentorum and De simplicium medicamentorum temperamentis et facultatibus libri XI .
  4. ^ Wolf-Dieter Müller-Jahncke: Galenic remedies. 2005, p. 447.
  5. Metformin in new galenics with better gastrointestinal tolerance, even in the case of renal insufficiency, press release of the German Society for Endocrinology on, July 16, 2013.
  6. Duden online: Galenikum