Special Note: During the Month of October, American Pharmacists Month, we will be highlighting historical and present pharmacy figures who have contributed significantly during the profession.
Contributed by: Tanka Thapa, P3, Class of 2017
George Francis Archambault was born on April 29, 1909, in Springfield, Massachusetts. At early age, he started working for a Springfield Pharmacist. Due to his keen interest in the field of medicine, he attended the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy (MCP) and later received his PhG (1931) and PhC (1939) degrees. Because he desired to learn more about regulations needed to change the face of the pharmacy profession, Arachambault pursued and received his juris doctorate (JD) from Northeastern University in 1941. He completed the Massachusetts bar in 1942, receiving his license.
In 1943 Archambault was appointed to a pharmacy position as a civilian at the U.S. Marine Hospital in Brighton, MA. Here, he was very passionate about teaching and sharing his knowledge. Archambault started teaching pharmaceutical arithmetic and compounding to Merchant Marines and to officers in the U.S. Coast Guard. Due to his contributions in advancing the field of pharmacy, he was again appointed as commissioner to the Public Health Service (PHS) in 1945. Archambault’s passion for the field of pharmacy never stopped, and again, he was recognized and named Chief of the pharmacy branch of the PHS Division of Hospitals from 1947 to 1965. Meantime, he was also named as a pharmacy Liasion officer to the Office of the surgeon General of the United States from years 1959 to 1967.
During his lifetime, Archambault continuously worked in the field to advance and help the profession to cover the increased population and disease that required more attention from healthcare providers. For his lifelong dedication and innumerous contributions, he was awarded with highest pharmacy award, the 1956 Harvey A.K. Whitney Award from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. He was also awarded the Craigie Award, which recognizes contributions in the advancement of professional pharmacy in the federal government. Finally, he was awarded American Druggist Man of the Year in 1966. He also worked for the Medical Care Administration of PHS, where he helped write regulations governing role of pharmacy in Medicare and Medicaid.
Archambault used to participate actively in different professional associations and became charter member of the American Society of Health System Pharmacists in 1942 and was a lifelong member of the American Pharmacists Association. During this period he served as an officer and president of both organizations. Archambault is considered the father of consultant pharmacy, and a scholarship has been established on his Name through APHA (American Pharmacist Association), the John F. Archambault scholarship.
The pharmacy profession has come a long way since the beginning of human civilization. Today pharmacists’ work together with patients, physicians and nurses in different settings like in a hospital, ambulatory care or nursing home. These all have been possible due to the vision of Arachmbault and others who believed pharmacists are essential in the development of the health care profession and the optimization of patient care. Pharmacists play a vital role in filling a gap between the physician prescribing and the patient receiving the drug. The doctor prescribes a medicine, and in order to cure the disease, patients should take the medicine as prescribed. Pharmacists help keep track other medications they are taking in the meantime. So taking into consideration these things and knowing our potential, Arachambault constantly worked and gave us our freedom to practice in the field beyond and above our previous limit in the quest of better heal.
Worthen. B. Dennis.(2003). George Francis Archambault (1909-2001). Journal of American Pharmacist Association. 43(3),441-443.