A Culture of Corruption: The Apothecary’s Tale

Newport was one of the earliest American seaports to engage in the transatlantic drug trade during the first third of the eighteenth century. On Thursday, August 17, at 5:30pm, the Newport Historical …

Posted by NewportHistory

Newport was one of the earliest American seaports to engage in the transatlantic drug trade during the first third of the eighteenth century. On Thursday, August 17, at 5:30pm, the Newport Historical Society will host Elaine Forman Crane, Distinguished Professor of History Emerita, Fordham University, for lecture titled A Culture of Corruption: The Apothecary’s Tale. At a time when both the production and sale of pharmaceuticals were unregulated on this side of the Atlantic, Newport’s unlicensed apothecaries were free to advise and dispense the most dangerous substances. Drug ingredients from several continents were compounded in London, tampered with en route to New England, and costly when prescribed locally. Even more threatening to the consumer, apothecaries often adulterated drugs, a tactic that reduced the product’s efficacy while enhancing the apothecary’s profit.