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The First pharmacy in Addis Ababa

The First pharmacy in Addis Ababa
In the early 20th century, Paul Merab (real name, Petre Merabishvili) was the personal physician of Emperor
Menelik II and opened the very first pharmacy in Addis. He was born in 1876 in Ude, South Georgia in a
Roman Catholic community .
Educated at the Prestigious Sorbonne in France he went on to become a physician and pharmacist. He
practiced in Constantinople where after treating a visiting Ethiopian delegation, he became interested in
visiting Ethiopia – consequently he was hired to work as a physician for Emperor Menelik II and moved to
Ethiopia where he lived in from 1908 to 1928 (excluding the years of the First World War when he
volunteered in the French military).
In 1910 Paul Merab founded the first pharmacy in Addis Ababa which he called Pharmacies de la Georgie
(after the country of his birth).
Dr. Merab was considered a man of literary merit and the author of “Medecines ET Medecine en Ethiopia”
the first important account of traditional Ethiopian medicine and he also published informative research
and memories about Ethiopia.
Dr. Merab was buried in Addis Ababa’s Gulele cemetery. Although Merab enjoyed something of a
pharmaceutical monopoly, he nevertheless encountered some competition. Most European, and Indian,
groceries at this time stocked popular medicines. These included iodide of potassium, Ricord’s pills, quinine,
castor oil, Epsom salts, laudenum, phenic acid and antiseptic cotton. However, recognition for opening the
first pharmacy in Ethiopia remains his acknowledged accomplishment in Ethiopia.
By Biruk Temtem