“On the evening of Monday, May 8, 1882, a group of pharmacists from across the state of Indiana met in the Bates House parlors in Indianapolis.  These men, earnest in their conviction, had come to Indianapolis with the purpose of meeting the following day to establish a State Association of Pharmacy.  The group of pharmacists who met at the Bates House parlors had come at the request of the druggists to participate in what would be the founding meeting of the Indiana Pharmaceutical Association.
The convention on May 9, 1882 was where Hoosier pharmacists finally united under a single banner."

Excerpts taken from: 125 Years of Indiana Pharmacy: A History of Indiana’s Pharmacist Association 



Our Founders

Col. Eli Lilly (1838-1889)

Eli Lilly was born in Indiana in 1838 and went on to lead an extraordinary life. In 1854, he apprenticed as a pharmacist at a drug store in Lafayette, Indiana. Eli Lilly acquired the title of Colonel as a Union officer of the 18th Indiana Light Artillery Battery during the Civil War. In 1876, Colonel Eli Lilly purchased a small storefront on Pearl St. in downtown Indianapolis and opened what would become the present-day industrial giant Eli Lilly and Co. An experienced chemist, Lilly became a pioneer in the pharmaceutical industry.

The company succeeded early on, largely due to his innovative process of gelatin-coating pills. Lilly also played a prominent role as a member of the community. In 1882, he served as a temporary chairman for what would become the Indiana Pharmacist Association. He was also a part of the Committee on Permanent Organization to determine the initial positions held by members of the newly formed State organization. Today, the Lilly family is Indiana’s largest benefactor, and Col. Eli Lilly set the example early on. In 1893, he chaired a committee devoted to aiding the indigent community and later donated money to facilitate the construction of a children’s hospital. Colonel Eli Lilly, an important figure in pharmacy, died in 1898.


Gideon D. Searle (1846-1917)

While a Union soldier during the Civil War, G.D. Searle developed an infection that hospitalized him. During his recovery, G.D. passed the time by studying medical books and literature. After the war, he worked as a bookkeeper and salesman for a pharmaceutical company, opening his own drugstore when he was 22. In early 1882, G.D. was one of the original pharmacists involved in establishing the Indiana Pharmaceutical Association. 

Searle began to manufacture his own preparations and found success in selling them to doctors who preferred to dispense medications directly to the patients. One of Searle’s good friends, Eli Lilly, encouraged him to start a drug company. In 1888, Searle founded what would become G.D. Searle and Co. in Omaha, Nebraska.

G.D. Searle and Co. went on to develop many firsts, including the first bulk laxative (Metamucil), the first motion sickness drug (Dramamine), and the first oral contraceptive. The company also developed the artificial sweetener NutraSweet (aspartame), which became a household name in the 1980s. In 1983, G.D. Searle and Co. was acquired by Monsanto Corporation, and then by Pfizer in 2003, when the Searle name was retired. 

The First Meeting of the Indiana Pharmaceutical Association

The rain and clouds on the morning of May 9, 1882 failed to deter the 120 pharmacists who were ushered into Indianapolis Masonic Temple for the meeting.  At 10:30 AM, Joseph Perry called those in attendance to order and stated the task before them.  “We are here this morning for the purpose of organizing a State Pharmaceutical Association, that we, as druggists, may better our condition.”
Perry presided over the balloting, and the nominees were elected:

  • President – Geo. H. Andrews, Muncie
  • First Vice President – Flor. C. Schmidt, Evansville
  • Second Vice President – Charles V. Pyle, Warsaw
  • Third Vice President – A.G. Luken, Richmond
  • Permanent Secretary – Joseph R Perry, Indianapolis
  • Local Secretary – John a. Lambert, Indianapolis
  • Treasurer – Emil Martin
  • Executive Committee – Jacob Baur, Terre Haute; John Hurty, Indianapolis; David Hilt, Lafayette

The nascent association addressed many issues during the two-day proceedings, among the first were the need to procure effective legislation for the profession, the scope of the organization, and professional standards and ethics.
The pharmacists that attended the meeting established a firm foundation to build the profession of pharmacy in Indiana and set important precedents for future pharmacists to follow.


The Seventeen Year War: Enacting Legislation in Indiana

From the Inception of the IPhA in 1882 it was the intention of Hoosier pharmacists to pass legislation to protect and elevate the profession.  What initially began as a forthright process became an arduous seventeen year war of attrition, the most striking feature about the passage of Indiana’s first pharmacy law was the sheer length of time it required.  When it finally was passed, all four neighboring states had pharmacy laws prior to Indiana.

The efforts of Legislative Committee chairman R. I. Eads and others came to fruition shortly after the annual meeting of 1899.  House Bill No.47 was passed by the Senate and signed by the Governor, and thus became Indiana’s first Pharmacy Practice Act.  Hoosier pharmacists had finally gained the protection they had sought since the founding of the organization.  As it turned out, Indiana became the last State in the Union to pass a pharmacy law. 
With the enactment of the Practice Act, Indiana established a State Board of Pharmacy and with that, the IPhA started its close working relationship with the Board. 


The Progressive Era

In addition to tending to the public health of Indiana, the IPhA made great gains in securing both professional prominence and economic security.  The relentless efforts of the Legislative committee procured the first Pharmacy Practice Act to safeguard the profession from unqualified pharmacists.  By implementing supplemental testing, the Committee on Education helped to elevate the Purdue School of Pharmacy (The IPhA’s own John Hurty is often given credit with founding the school) to one of the premier schools in the nations.  The active involvement of the IPhA with the National Association of Retail Druggists met the problem of “cut-rating” head-on to bolster the economic security of Indiana pharmacists. 


The Modern Era

The rise of the pharmacy industry during the 1950s and 1960s engendered new struggles for the IPhA.  Issues with health insurance and generic drugs persisted in subsequent years.  The renewed sense of professionalism that Hoosier pharmacists incurred following WWII continued to gain momentum through the 1960’s and provided impetus for pharmacy to remain diligent in the years to come to ensure the well-being of Hoosier pharmacists in a changing health-system.  Pharmacists continued to see the value of a professional organization like the IPhA to promote their interests.

Strength through Unification

In the 1997, July/August issue of The Indiana Pharmacist, Lary Sage informed association members that the IPA and ISHP would merge to form the Indiana Pharmacists Alliance (IPA).  An overwhelming 95% of the votes cast from the two organizations supported the merger.  Bruce Clayton, president of the Indiana Pharmacists Association during the merger stated that the collaborative efforts of both organizations created a better opportunity “to advance the practice of ALL pharmacists in Indiana”. 



While IPA has changed names and headquarter locations over the years and the pertinent issues have changed with the decades, the purpose of the association remains the same – To be the voice and advocate for the profession of pharmacy in Indiana.

Our Mission:

To be the voice and advocate for the profession of pharmacy in Indiana.

Our Vision:

To lead the advancement of Indiana Pharmacy by promoting legislation and innovations that optimize patient care, safety, and the health of our communities.