History – University of Copenhagen

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Department of Pharmacy > About the Department > History


The history of Department of Pharmacy

The Department of Pharmacy was formed 1 January 2012 as a result of a double merge between the former Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, parts of the former Faculty of Life Sciences and the former Faculty of Health into the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.

Due to this merge, the Department of Pharmacy is the largest and most comprehensive academic teaching and research environment with focus on pharmaceutical sciences in Denmark.

We see our new Department of Pharmacy as a powerful unit focusing on all aspects of drugs from development of new active drug substances to development of new drug formulations to the distribution and use by the patients - from molecule to society.

Before 1 January 2012

The knowledge on drugs, in particular herbal drugs, goes back to ancient times. The distinction between the medical profession (diagnosis and therapy) and the pharmaceutical profession (production and distribution of drugs) appears around 700 BC in Bagdad. In Denmark, this distinction was regulated by law in 1672 by the King Christian V.

The discipline of chemistry originates from the pharmaceutical discipline and the two very first professors in chemistry at the University of Copenhagen were pharmacists (1795). The famous physicist and chemist H.C. Ørsted was also known as a trained pharmacist.

In 1892 The Royal Danish School of Pharmacy was established in central Copenhagen. 50 years later in 1942 it was moved to its present location at Universitetsparken 2.


In 1994 the name was changed to University of Pharmaceutical Sciences. The University of Pharmaceutical Sciences was governed by an elected staff.

In 2003, the government dictated “the new university act”. A consequence of this legislation was that Universities were governed by boards with external majority.

In 2007 the University of Pharmaceutical Sciences was merged into the University of Copenhagen as The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences. In in 2012 the faculty was merged again. This time into the larger Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences as the Department of Pharmacy and Department of Drug discovery and Pharmacology.

This way the pharmaceutical sciences ended up where it started as part of University of Copenhagen.

  • 1892 The Royal Danish School of Pharmacy
  • 1994 University of Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • 2003 New Universities Act
  • 2007 Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Copenhagen
  • 2012 Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences,     University of Copenhagen