At the beginning of the 20th century, in the view of Italian doctors, patients and pharmacists, those pharmaceuticals coming from Germany were definitely the best available, and above all were better than those produced in Italy.
Thus when Mussolini’s government imposed an autarchic programme for the production of pharmaceuticals and other items in 1936, the Italian chemical-pharmaceutical industry grew at a rapid rate, and began to produce all kinds of drug, including those up until then imported from abroad: in fact, a fully autarchic level of production meant self-sufficiency, designed to do away with the Italian economy’s dependence on foreign exports, in order to free the country from the heavy sanctions imposed on Italy by the League of Nations.
This fervent production continued until 1942 when Italy had reached a point where it was producing all kinds of drugs, including pain-killers, antipyretics, chemiotherapy drugs and drugs against malaria. At the same time, there was a boom in the cultivation, production and use of medicinal plants, both those native species and the more exotic plants which had become the subject of research in Italy as well.
- Leonardo Colapinto, predident and member of the Nobile Collegio Chimico Farmaceutico Romano; he teaches Pharmaceutics History at La Sapienza University in Rome
- Antonino Annetta, owner of a pharmacy in Rome, expert in Pharmacology; he is member of the Pharmacy History Accademy in Rome.