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Of pills, potions and poison

Monday 13 February 2017 12:15pm


In her latest University of Otago 1869-2019 - writing a history blog post Dr Ali Clarke explores how pharmacy and toxicology have been important disciplines at Otago for more than 100 years.  

In his first annual report on the university laboratory, in 1875, chemistry professor James Black listed all the analyses he had carried out for the public and local officials; his tests ranged from food and drink for adulteration to coal, minerals and cement. He also checked the composition of medicine, pills, a piece of tart and some lung balsam. In 1874 Dr Cole, of Tokomairiro, had sent urine and other samples to be tested for poison.

Toxicology was thus at the very origin of Otago’s work in the pharmacology field, Dr Clarke says.