Father of Indian Pharmacology – Sri Ram Nath Chopra

r n chopda

Father of Indian Pharmacology – Sri Ram Nath ChopraSri Ram Nath Chopra is considered as “Father of Indian Pharmacology” since he was the first to establish a centre of study and research in pharmacology in India, at the Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine.
Name : Singh H. Sir Colonel Ram Nath Chopra

Date of Birth: August 17, 1882

Place of Birth: Gujranwala, Punjab

Date of Expiry: June 13, 1973

Place of Expiry: Srinagar, Kashmir

Son of : Dewan RaghuNath Chopra

Popular as: ‘Father of Indian Pharmacology; Doyen of science and medicine

Sir Colonel Ram Nath Chopra

Educational Track:

Schooling at Jammu and Srinagar;

College studies at Government College, Lahore;

In England Chopra joined in Downing College, Cambridge in 1903. He worked with famous Dr. Walter E. Dixon, a famous pharmacologist and first professor of pharmacology in that college. R.N.Chopra’s thesis title was “Action of drugs on ciliary movement in the respiratory tract”.

In 1905 he was admitted in B.A. after qualifying for Natural Sciences Tripos.

While studying at Cambridge he joined in Barthelomew’s Hospital, London and competed for the Indian Medical Service (1908) and got third place in merit. He also obtained Cambridge M.B. and M.D. and the London M.R.C.P.

He was awarded the Sc.D. degree of Cambridge University for his contributions to the science of medicine. The Royal College of Physicians of London elected him as a Fellow.

Work Experience:

For about 12 years he worked as young IMS officer first in East Africa and then in Afghan war.

In 1921 he joined as First Professor of Pharmacology in Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine to teach PG students, became director of the institution in 1934. Along with this position he also chaired the Pharmacology at Calcutta Medical College to teach UG students. His hand in developing the Pharmacology laboratory at School made it a well equipped best laboratory equal to those in UK. He served the school till 1941 (i.e., for 20 years). After retirement in the same year the Government of Kashmir appointed him as Director of Medical Services and then appointed as Director of Drug Research Laboratory where he served the lab till 1960.

His ambition was observed as bringing modern pharmacology from the traditional materia medica. He is well known for his Experimental Pharmacology. He is the First person in establishing a research centre for pharmacological work.

He enormously worked in the area of General Pharmacology and Chemotherapy. Most particularly his work areas covered studies on Indigenous drugs covering their chemical composition, invitro & invivo tests for the active principles, biochemical & biophysical changes in mammalian organism; surveys on drug addiction, Drug analysis etc.

The department of Pharmacology at Calcutta School of Tropical Medicines stood as land mark for other researches also covering clinical evaluation of drugs, tropical medicine, therapeutics, experimental pharmacology, toxicology, drug standardization and biological assays, diagnostic services etc.

His work on indigenous drugs inspired many other institutions to join their hands in the research of that area. With his continuous research various indigenous drugs like ispaghula, kurchi, rauwolfia, psoralea, cobra venom, etc. were proved to have pharmacologically active principles and got place in Indian Pharmacopoeial List 1946 and Pharmacopoeia of India 1955.

He also contributed a lot for Indian systems of medicine.

One of his great contributions was utilize under the chairmanship of Drug Enquiry Committee in 1930-31 during which period he roamed throughout India and given provoking recommendations to the Govt. of India due to which a seed of pharmacy profession has taken birth. With his recommendations Prof. Mahadev Lal Schroff got inspired and started Pharmacy course first time in India in 1932 at Banarus Hindu University.

And also Drugs Act 1940 was framed which was later changed as Drugs and Cosmetics Act in 1962. Later Ayurvedic (including Siddha) and Unani drugs were also under its coverage in 1964.

Sir. Col. R.N.Chopra Nursing Home was being maintained in Jammu.


He received the ranks in increasing order with his marvelous services. The ranks include Major in 1921, Leutenant-Colonel in 1927, Colonel in 1934, Brevet rank of Colonel in 1935, Knighthood in the 1941 New Years Honours list etc.

He received various medals like Minto Medal, Mouatt Medal, Coatos Medal etc. from the School and the University of Calcutta.

IPA awarded him with Dr. E. R. Squibb award for his outstanding contributions.

He is the person behind the Contributions:

O Drugs Act;


O Indian Pharmacopoeial List-1946 published as an Indian supplement to the British Pharmacopoeia-1932;

O Change of All Bengal Compounders’ Association to Bengal Pharmaceutical Association ;

O The Indian Pharmacopoeia first edition-1955.

O The Pharmacy Act-1948.

O His archives are even today available in RRL, Regional Research Laboratory, Jammu-Tawi etc.

Honorary Cadres:

O Chairman, Drugs Enquiry Committee;

O Director, Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine;

O Director, Medical Services and Research;

O Director, Drug Research Laboratory;

O Vice-President, Asiatic Society of Bengal;

O Member, American Society for Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics;

O Member, Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain;

O Member, Belgian Society of Tropical Medicine;

O President, Indian Science Congress; 1948;

O Chairman, Committee Indian Pharmacopoeial List;

O chaired the committees for the preparation of Ayurvedic and Unani pharmacopoeias;

O Sectional President, Physiology and Medical Sciences of the Congress;

O President, Indian National Science Academy;

O Chairman, Advisory Panel on Drugs and Medicines of the Govt. of India;

O College of Pharmacy Committee of the Govt. of Bengal;

O Member of shore sub-committee, Drugs & Pharmaceuticals committee of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research etc.

Books wrote by Col. R.N.Chopra:

1.Indigenous Drugs Of India
2.Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants
3.Poisonous Plants Of India Volume1.
4.Drug Addiction, with special reference to india.
5.A handbook of Medical Treatments with prescriptions
6.Some aspects of society & culture during the Mughal age (1526-1707)
7.The Shaping of Indian Science: 1948-1981
8.Encyclopaedia of India: Haryana
9.Quit India Movement: British secret documents, Volume 1
10.Medical stores and equipment
11.India at a glance: a comprehensive reference book on India.


About Swami Devaishta

I am a osho sanyasi, yoga teacher and a homoeopath.
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