Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain

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The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) was formerly the statutory regulatory and professional body for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in England, Scotland and Wales. In September 2010, the regulatory powers of the Society were transferred to the newly formed General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), while the RPSGB retained its professional leadership role; however its name was changed to Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and the "Great Britain" part of the name was dropped for day-to-day purposes.

Statutory role[edit]

Before the establishment of the GPhC and the transfer of regulatory power, the primary objective of the RPSGB was to lead, regulate, develop and promote the pharmaceutical profession. All pharmacists in Great Britain had to be registered with the Society in order to practise, and the Society was unusual amongst healthcare regulators that it had its own inspectorate. To become a member of the Society an individual usually had to complete a MPharm or (if graduating before 2000) a BPharm or BSc (pharmacy) degree, 52 weeks of pre-registration training and pass a registration examination. This gave them the right to use the post-nominal letters MRPharmS (Member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society) and to practise as pharmacist in Great Britain. Fellowships (FRPharmS) were also awarded for pharmacists with long standing and outstanding commitment to the profession.

The register of pharmacists is now held by the GPhC, and it is this body which now controls registration and fitness to practise. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society now provides members with the post-nominals 'MRPharmS' and those members who have been awarded fellowships with 'FRPharmS'.


The Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain was founded on April 15, 1841[1] by William Allen FRS, Jacob Bell, Daniel Hanbury, John Bell, Andrew Ure, James Marwood Hucklebridge, 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.[2] In 1988, Queen Elizabeth II agreed that the title "Royal" should be granted to the society.


The RPS operates two publishing divisions, formerly called RPS Publishing;-

Royal Pharmaceutical Society Museum[edit]

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

  • Traditional dispensing equipment.
  • Drug storage containers.
  • Fine "Lambeth delftware" dating from the 17th and 18th centuries.
  • Proprietary (brand name) medicines dating from the 18th century to the present day.
  • Bronze mortars.
  • Medical caricatures.
  • A photo archive.

The RPS 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.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About us:history of the society". Royal Pharmaceutical Society. Retrieved 2 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "Text of the 2004 Supplemental Charter as amended with effect from September 27 2010". Royal Pharmaceutical Society. Retrieved 2 August 2014. 
  3. ^ Economic Botany Collection

External links[edit]

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