Perspectives of pharmacology over the past 100 years

James E. Barrett*, Clive Page, Martin C. Michel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


It is fitting that the 100th anniversary of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology celebrates not only its founding but also the founding of experimental pharmacology as both had their beginnings in Germany. Founded in 1919 by Arthur Heffter (1859–1925) as the “Handbuch der Experimentellen Pharmakologie” and renamed to its current title in 1937, the Handbook has continued to capture the emergence and developments of experimental pharmacology since the initial systematic work of Rudolf Buchheim and his student Oswald Schmiedeberg. Heffter, the first Chairman of the German Society of Pharmacology, was also responsible for isolating mescaline as the active psychedelic component from the peyote cactus, thereby initiating a series of studies along with an Institute that, much like the Handbook and the discipline of pharmacology, continues to discover and disseminate new findings to this day. These early endeavors to establish pharmacology as a viable and valuable contributor to the medical sciences met with considerable resistance and challenges. However, the persistence and dedication of these early pharmacologists placed pharmacology on a firm foundation from which to spread this discipline globally, leading ultimately to our current understanding of the principles of drug action and with an impact likely unanticipated by these founding scientists. Summarizing the beginnings of these efforts and their early spread to other countries provides an appropriate context in which to document the many contributions pharmacological research has made over the past 100 years and provide an opportunity to anticipate expectations around its future developments.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Experimental Pharmacology
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Publication series

NameHandbook of Experimental Pharmacology
ISSN (Print)0171-2004
ISSN (Electronic)1865-0325


  • Buchheim
  • Heffter
  • History of German pharmacology
  • Krayer
  • Schmiedeberg


Dive into the research topics of 'Perspectives of pharmacology over the past 100 years'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this