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The first private pharmacies in Russia was opened by Decree of Peter I

3 December 1701

On November 22 (December 3) 1701 Peter I issued the highest Decree which stipulated foundation of eight private pharmacies (chemist’s) in Moscow. New pharmacies were released from military billeting, while pharmacists — from military duty and paying taxes.

First pharmacies in Russia appeared in 17th c. as a result of development of the public health service. In the 1620s was founded a Pharmacy Prikaz (office), which became the central government body in charge of all medical affairs countrywide. Peter I attached a great importance to an organization of pharmacy. In 1699 in Moscow was established the Chief state-run pharmacy. Pharmacies in Germany seen by Peter I during his Grand Embassy of 1697-1698, served as a model for foundation of a new type of pharmacies in Russia — private pharmacies.

In 1701 Peter I issued several decrees, which reformed pharmacy in Russia: on abolishment of highly developed out-of-pharmacy trade of medicines and on strengthening of the pharmacy monopoly. To pharmacists Peter I granted various privileges: released them from taxes, allowed to use the image of the State Emblem on documents. The decree read that “every Russian or foreign citizen, willing to run a private pharmacy, with the state’s permission will be granted the place and a letters patent for a hereditary right of ownership on this institution”.

The first private pharmacy in Russia was opened by the alchymist of the Pharmacy Prikaz Johann-Gottfried Gregorius (Gregory) in the New-German quarter of Moscow. A month later in Myasnitskaya Str. was established a pharmacy of the court doctor Daniil Gurchin, who had a degree of Doctor of Medicine. Later in different districts of Moscow were founded other private pharmacies as well: in 1703 — a pharmacy at Pokrov Gates which belonged to Gavriil Sauls, who studied pharmacy in Holland; in 1707 — a pharmacy owned by Jessin Arnikel at Varvarka Gates; in 1712 — pharmacies of Avraam Rut near Old Stone Bridge in Bely Gorod (White Town) and the one ran by Gavriil Byshevsky in Varvarka Str. And at last the eighth pharmacy was launched in 1713 by Albert Sander in the Sretensk Str. This number of pharmacies in Moscow remained unchanged almost within the whole 18th c.

The monopoly, which was granted to the owners of pharmacies, limited the increase in their number in Moscow, and it was only 70 years later, in 1784, that it was permitted to set up new pharmacies.

Lit.: Власов П. В. Из истории московских больниц — аптекарский приказ // Здоровье. 1986. № 11; Крисенеля А. Вольным аптекам быть… // Российские аптеки. 2001. № 10; Сало В. М. Аптечная реформа Петра I и первые частные аптеки в России (к 300-летию реформы аптечного дела) // Аптека. 2001. № 10. С. 69-73.

From the Presidential library materials:

Варадинов Н. В. Аптекарский устав, извлечённый из Свода законов полных собраний законов, распубликованных циркуляров Министерства внутренних дел, постановлений Медицинского совета и разъясняемый историей законодательства. СПб., 1880;

Полное собрание законов Российской Империи. Собрание 1-е. СПб., 1700-1712. Т. 4 (1830). №№ 1879, 1881.