Bowl of Hygieia

A snake twined around a chalice
A simple drawing of the Bowl of Hygieia

Bowl of Hygieia is one of the symbols of pharmacy. Hygieia was the Greek goddess of hygiene, and the daughter of Asclepius. Asclepius' symbol is his rod, with a snake twined around it; correspondingly, Hygieia's symbol is a cup or chalice with a snake twined around its stem and poised above it.

Usage of symbol by pharmaceutical associations

The bowl of Hygieia has been used as a symbol of the pharmacy profession at least as far back as 1796, when it was used on a coin minted for the Parisian Society of Pharmacy.[1] It has since been adopted by many more pharmaceutical associations worldwide, such as the American Pharmacists Association,[2] the Canadian Pharmacists Association,[3] the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia,[4] and the Doctor of pharmacy Association,[5] Conseil de l'Ordre des Pharmaciens in France[6] (where is written in law with another symbol, the green Greek cross).[7]

The bowl of Hygieia is a common symbol on signs outside of pharmacies in Europe. A mortar and pestle is a more common symbol in the United States.

Bowl of Hygeia Award

The Bowl of Hygeia Award is an award given by state, provincial, and national pharmacist associations in the United States and Canada to recognize living pharmacists who "possess outstanding records of civic leadership in their communities," while "[encouraging] pharmacists to take active roles in their communities."[8]

The award was established in 1958 by E. Claiborne Robins, president of A. H. Robins Co. of Richmond, Virginia,[9] and first presented by the Iowa Pharmaceutical Association at its annual convention.[1]

In 1961, Robins's Bowl of Hygeia Award program expanded to Canada, and by 1967 it was being given by the pharmacists' associations in all 50 U.S. states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and all 10 Canadian provinces.

In 1989, American Home Products acquired A. H. Robins, and the company's Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories division took over sponsorship of the award.[9] (In 2002 AHP changed its name to Wyeth.)

Wyeth was acquired by Pfizer in 2009, and in 2010 the company transferred "all rights and responsibilities of the award" to the pharmacy profession as a whole. Today it is managed by the American Pharmacists Association, the National Association of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA), and the APhA Foundation.[8]

State, provincial, and national pharmacists' associations now each select and sponsor their annual Bowl of Hygeia winners.[10]

The University of California, San Francisco School of Pharmacy, which is the nation's top ranked Pharmacy School according to US News, bestows a Bowl Of Hygeia Award each year to a single graduating student from the School of Pharmacy.[11] The student is selected by his or her classmates along with the faculty members and is selected based on which individual most exemplifies the desirable qualities of a pharmacist[12]

In September 2015, a controversy erupted when an APhA Foundation-sponsored "Bowl of Hygeia" award was given to Louisiana pharmacist Lloyd Duplantis, who not only was a prominent figure in a movement of pharmacists who refused to dispense the birth control pill,[13] but had self-published a book [14] considered full of pseudo-scientific theories, the most notorious being a contention that high-dose estrogen birth control pills lead to an increase in "effeminate men" and homosexuality. The book also theorized that since these type of pills were tested in Haiti during the 1950s, by the 1970s a higher percentage of the population would be homosexual, and that a "unique population transfer" occurred during that time between Haiti and Zaire, where the AIDS virus had been created as a result of "errant vaccine experiments", so that the Haitians then contracted the virus and brought it to the Western Hemisphere.[15] Despite calls for APhA to rescind this award, the organization has stood by its decision.


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bowl of Hygieia.
  1. 1 2 "History of the Bowl of Hygeia award | Drug Topics". 2002-10-07. Retrieved 2013-04-26.
  2. "Bowl of Hygeia". 2009-04-16. Archived from the original on April 16, 2009. Retrieved 2013-04-26.
  3. "Home - CPhA". Retrieved 2013-04-26.
  4. "Pharmaceutical Society of Australia". Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.
  5. "Doctor of Pharmacy Association -".
  6. "La protection de la croix verte et du caducée - Nos missions - Ordre National des Pharmaciens" (in French). 2012-06-14. Retrieved 2013-04-26.
  7. "Code de la santé publique - Article R4235-53" (in French). Legifrance. 2004-07-29. Retrieved 2013-04-26.
  8. 1 2 "Bowl of Hygeia Award".
  9. 1 2 "History of the Bowl of Hygeia award". Drug Topics.
  10. "Programs".
  11. "Best Pharmacy Programs - Top Pharmacy Schools - US News Best Grad Schools".
  12. "Bowl of Hygeia Award".
  13. "The Drugstore War". 23 November 2004.
  14. "The Pill - America's Sacred Cow: Lloyd Duplantis: 9780984116607: Books".
  15. "American Pharmacists Association gives award to homophobic pseudo-scientist, plugs his book". AMERICAblog News.
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