The first known pharmacy in the World was established in 766 8th century in Baghdad, Iraq the then Babylon, Asia Minor. In Europe, first pharmacies dated back to the 11th century.  In Nigeria (Africa) the first Pharmacy was opened by a European, Mr. Richard Zaccheus Bailey 1829-1911 (aka the doctor) in the year 1887 19th century along Balogun Street, Lagos having obtained a license from the Governor-in-Council to do so.


In the 13th century in Europe, pharmacy as a separate profession from medicine originated when the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Fredrick ll of Hohenstaufen issued a series of edicts in 1240 separating the two professions out of one. Since that time for centuries pharmacy was taught and practiced as a technical course and an aspect of medicine. Changes and events since 17th and 18th centuries from the dogmatic and empirical pharmaceutical data to scientific findings and reasoning (due to development of basic sciences such as chemistry) led to emphasis on manufacturing and distribution of drugs. i.e. Pharmacy ( control of medicines and medicine products).


In 1899, the first batch of dispensers was trained in Lagos under an apprenticeship         scheme. These dispensers served their apprenticeship with medical doctors and they thereafter worked in government hospitals. The Poisons and Pharmacy Ordinance specified the type of instructions the dispensers should receive. In 1902, the regulation of practice of pharmacy was placed under the control of the Resident and Chief Medical Officer.


It was the selling dispensers such as the Nigerian Medicine Stores, Alban Pharmacy, Boots Pure Drugs, Kingsway Chemists, Paul & Paul Chemists, Commercial Medicine Stores, West African Drug Company etc. that were opened in the 1920’s that formed the Association of Dispensers which was registered in 1927 under Section 22 of the Company Ordinance of 1922 that transformed to the Pharmacutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) of today. The association was open to dispensers in the Civil service but instead of joining, the dispensers in Civil service formed a parallel organization that metamorphosed into the Nigerian Union of Pharmacists, NUP


In 1922, the School of Pharmacy at Yaba Higher College, Lagos was established to train dispensers. In 1927, the Board of Medical Examiners under the Poisons and Pharmacy Ordinance of 1927 was enacted. Dr. A Robertson was the first Chairman and the Secretary was Mr. Nicol. The Board was the first regulatory body in Nigeria’s history established to regulate and control pharmacy education and practice in Nigeria. In 1936 the Poisons and Pharmacy Ordinance was enacted. The word “dispenser” was first defined as “a person holding a certificate granted under the provisions of the Poisons and Pharmacy Ordinance 1936 or possessing other prescribed qualifications who by virtue of his holding such certificate or other qualifications has been granted a license under this Ordinance to mix, compound, prepare and dispense drugs and poisons where  license is still in force” The ordinance made provisions for the appointment of inspectors and registration of pharmaceutical premises after inspection, as well as for  Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendor’s license due to shortage of pharmacies.


In 1945, the drug laws provided for selling dispensers as persons authorized to sell drugs and poisons in Nigeria. Section 56 of the Pharmacy Ordinance 1945 provided for the regulation of sale and distribution of drugs and poisons in registered premises and the inspection of such premises. Section 60 of the Pharmacy Ordinance 1945 controlled the sale of Patent and/or Proprietary Medicines and defined “Packed Goods” and “Patent and / or Proprietary Medicine” 


In 1946, the training of Chemists and Druggists started in the School of Pharmacy, Yaba, it was not until 1954 that provisions were made in the Laws of Nigeria specifically for the importation and sale of poisons, Section 17 of Cap131 of the Laws of Nigeria, 1954.