In the year 1898, a group of twenty pharmacists combined to form as one association, in an effort to more closely unite the Retail Druggists of the city of Philadelphia. Many of the conditions which controlled the pharmacists of that era, both business and legislative, surprisingly enough are still present today. In 1898, the “Discounters” of today were present under the name “Demoralizers.” They were present in both the retail and wholesale divisions of our profession.
Dispensing by physicians was the order of the day. Physicians were eligible for certification by the Board of Pharmacy as pharmacists, qualified “to conduct and carry on the retail drug or apothecary business as proprietor or manager thereof” without examination! These and many other conditions disturbed the pharmacists of our city in 1898. In such a time was born the Philadelphia Association of Retail Druggists better known as PARD.
The small band of pharmacists who sought to improve their lot grew steadily. In 1901, the Association was granted a charter, and duly incorporated under the present name. Meetings were held at various places. In 1923, twenty-five years after its organization, PARD bought its first permanent home located a 2017 Spring Garden Street and became the first organization of its kind in America to own its own headquarters. In 1996, PARD moved to its present quarters at 2100 Arch Street, sharing office space with Keystone Pharmacy Purchasing Alliance, Inc., a PARD wholly owned subsidiary.
Every year saw forward strides made in improving conditions within the industry. In harmony with the National Association of Retail Druggists or NARD, which was also founded in 1898, the PARD, and other associations worked toward correcting some of the evils affecting retailers. National and State legislation was prepared for the protection of public health, and the elimination of unfair trade practices.
These legislative actions and efforts were eventually translated into several laws regulating the practice of pharmacy, the manufacture, packaging and purity of drugs, the sale of poisons, insecticides, fungicides, caustic acids, alkalies, narcotics, “dangerous” drugs (sulfas, thyroid, Benzedrine, barbiturates, etc.) penicillin, and drugs for treatment of venereal disease. Also enacted into law were the tremendously important State Unfair Sales and Fair Trade Acts.
In 1938, a reorganization plan was adopted by PARD under which the city was divided into six local districts, each with its own association and officers. These associations were designed to have equal representation on the PARD Executive Committee and report their activities directly to the parent body. The local District Associations were autonomous; yet their allegiance, loyalty and support is dedicated completely to PARD.
In the course of reorganization, field men were engaged to regularly contact members at their stores. The post Korean War era found a changing period for retail pharmacy in the Philadelphia area as well as other large metropolitan areas. Redevelopment of our city, increase in the crime rate, many pharmacy graduates going on to higher learning or finding opportunities in pharmacy outside of the retail area along with normal attrition, lessened the number of pharmacies in Philadelphia from approximately 1400 to 525.
A revision of our 1924 Constitution & By-Laws was implemented in 1964. The number of local associations was reduced to five. PARD recognized the increasing number of non-store owners in Philadelphia and provided for two voting seats on the Executive Committee for representation of pharmacists that were not store owners.
In 1965, PARD again initiated a first for pharmacy, making available a 24 hour taped telephone message which provides immediate information on the latest developments relating to Pharmacy. In 1969, the number of local associations was reduced to four by consolidating North Central and North City.
In the 1970’s, PARD again found itself actively engaged in legislative matters. Through the efforts of PARD, legislation was introduced and passed by the United States Congress, making it a federal crime to commit a burglary, robbery, or even to attempt to commit either in a Pharmacy.
Third Party payers for prescription service started to become a significant part of the independent pharmacy source of income. The Pennsylvania Department of Welfare was the major payer in many Philadelphia pharmacies. A change in the payment method adopted by the State led to a legal action taken by PARD members. The action led to over one million dollars being refunded to Pennsylvania pharmacies.
The 1980’s found significant decrease in the number of independent pharmacies in Philadelphia. The membership of PARD was graying, drug store burglaries and holdups were increasing due to the controlled substances that were available in pharmacies.
Political action was a prime activity of the Association. Although positive results of the activity were not always attained, some minor efforts were accomplished.
The 1990’s found the Association actively involved in public health matters. The Juvenile Diabetes Association, TV spots, Kidney Foundation, Poison Prevention, and programs that showed the importance of knowing your independent pharmacist.
Once again as in 1898, NCPA has been closely allied with PARD by contacting legislative, state and metropolitan associations to help get legislation through Congress which is beneficial and crucial to the success of Independent Pharmacy.
As did their predecessors over the past 100 years, the PARD Officers and Directors continue to give freely of their time and effort, guiding the activities of PARD in order that the conditions confronting their fellow pharmacists may be improved, and as a result, have produced one of the most closely knit associations in America.
The PARD office, which is open full time, is staffed by an Executive Director, and an Executive Secretary. PARD also has an attorney on retainer and a certified public accountant.
Pharmacy still has many of the problems of our founders but, for those that persevere and change with the times, there are more prescriptions to be filled and more related business to be had than ever before in our history. PARD will continue to protect the business and professional interests of its members and provide the necessary help for the independent to reach greater heights.
This history was compiled by Raymond Fleisher R. Ph. who is a PARD Life Member, Past President and Past Executive Director.