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Office of the Dean


It's time for Illinois pharmacy organizations to unite

Let's take a moment to review the history of pharmacy organizations in Illinois:

  • 1879: A magazine called The Pharmacist—published by the Chicago College of Pharmacy, now known as the UIC College of Pharmacy — prints an editorial that urges Illinois pharmacists to create the first pharmacy practice act. This prompts a meeting among prominent Illinois

  • 1880: The Illinois Pharmaceutical Association is officially formed at a pharmacist convention in Springfield. The association's inaugural officers draft and approve a constitution and bylaws. Dues after the first year are $1

  • 1940: The first organization of Illinois-based hospital pharmacists is created. Originally called the Hospital Pharmacists of Chicagoland, it later becomes the Illinois Society of Hospital Pharmacists and, following a merger, is named the Northern Illinois Society of Hospital Pharmacists. Later, prominent pharmacists in Belleville and Murphysboro help form the Southern Illinois Society of Hospital Pharmacists

  • 1963: The Illinois Society of Hospital Pharmacists merges with the Southern Illinois Society to become the Illinois Council of Hospital (now Healthsystem) Pharmacists, a new affiliate of the American Society of Hospital (now Healthsystem) Pharmacy.

The UIC College of Pharmacy has played an important role in this history. As the only college of pharmacy in Illinois for 132 years, we have provided leadership on issues related to our profession while working in concert with pharmacy organizations.

As dean of the college, I believe we need a unified voice for the pharmacy profession in Illinois. We need a single, professional organization that represents and supports all Illinois pharmacists. We need an organization that can muster the capital and authority to make an impact on our profession. Further, I think we suffer (as all of pharmacy does) from fragmented representation and divergent agendas. In my view, other states have managed to unify their organizations for the benefit of their members. Look, for example, at the progress in Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin on reimbursement issues for MTM. To my knowledge, the Illinois Medical Society, American Nurses Association for Illinois, and Illinois Academy of Physician Assistants all speak on behalf of their profession with unified voices. Nurses and physician assistants have been successful in expanding their scope of practice and prescriptive authority in Illinois.

I have thought about writing this piece for some time but put it on the back burner because of the sensitivities involved. I know this will not be a uniformly popular stance; it will be opposed even by some of my close friends and mentors. I further realize there are thorny political issues involved, but I would be happy to mediate a solution if there is a ground swell of support.

Perhaps there is a way to create a transition in which each organization retains its identity? I have no idea what we would name a single organization, but that's of minor importance. The goal is to unite Illinois pharmacists. I would be happy to hear from our alumni and friends on this issue.

In 1888, our college's famous alumnus Albert Ebert led the reorganization of the Illinois Pharmaceutical Association so that every pharmacist in the state was a member. Now that's the big-time vision that Illinois pharmacists deserve.

Together, we can lead the progressive practice of pharmacy.

Reference: Prairie State Pharmacy. Lewis ER Illinois Pharmacists Association 1980 UIC PHARMACIST