Pharmacies in old Gdańsk
First pharmacies in Gdańsk probably appeared in the 14th century. They produced drugs not only for the needs of Gdańsk inhabitants, but also for the Teutonic Order.
At the beginning of the 16th century, city councillors opened a council owned pharmacy, located near St Mary’s Church. First private pharmacy, instead, was established in Gdańsk in 1553 in the Old City. The city council was reluctant to allow such initiatives, which is why there were no more than six private pharmacies in old Gdańsk.
The oldest Gdańsk pharmacies about which proven information has survived include: Raths-Apotheke (council pharmacy; since 1529), Altstädtische-Apotheke (Old City pharmacy; since 1553), Fischerthor-Apotheke (pharmacy at ul. Słodowników; from 1556), Neugarten-Apotheke (pharmacy at Nowe Ogrody; from 1616), Langgarten-Apotheke (pharmacy at Długie Ogrody; from 1658).
Pharmacies were supervised in terms of proficiency by a city physician, while in legal terms by two councillors (the so-called Apothecken-Herren). To the city physicians: Dr Johann Ernst Scheffler (1605–1673) and Dr Johan Fabritius (1623–1690) we owe the creation of the first pharmacopoeia in the territory of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1665, i.e. the official list of drugs: ‘Dispensatorium Gedanense’.
• Portrait of Johann Ernst Scheffler (from the collection of Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel, CC BY-SA).
• Portrait of Johann Fabritius (Schmiedt).
Edited by Dr hab. Adam Szarszewski and Dr Piotr Paluchowski, Department of History and Philosophy of Medical Sciences, Medical University of Gdańsk