The mission of the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum is to further interest in the history of pharmacology and promote its further development for the benefit of the general public.
The museum is housed in the site of the apothecary of America’s first licensed pharmacist.Listed on the National Register of Historic Places as an historic building within the Vieux Carre Historic District, the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum showcases its extensive collection and provides interpretive educational programs to present and preserve the rich history of pharmacy and healthcare in Louisiana; past and present.
THE HISTORY OF LOUIS J. DUFILHO, JR.
America’s First Licensed Pharmacist
Dufilho’s most significant contribution to the history and integrity of the field of pharmacy took place in New Orleans in 1816. In 1804, the State of Louisiana, led by Governor Claiborne, passed a law that required a licensing examination for pharmacists wishing to practice their profession.
Prior to this law and before Louisiana became a U.S. State, there were some informal territory licensing measures, but none were enforced. A person could apprentice for six months and then compound and sell his or her own concoctions without any regulations or standards. The public received incorrect doses and erroneous medications. In 1804, Governor Claiborne established a board of reputable pharmacists and physicians to administer a three-hour oral examination given at the Cabildo in Jackson Square.
Louis J. Dufilho, Jr. was the first to pass the licensing examination, therefore making his pharmacy the first United States apothecary shop to be conducted on the basis of proven adequacy.