Vatican Pharmacy
Native name
Farmacia Vaticana
Company typePharmacy
ProductsDrugs, Cosmetics
Number of employees
Vatican Pharmacy is located in Vatican City
Vatican Pharmacy
Vatican Pharmacy
Location on a map of Vatican City

The Vatican Pharmacy (Latin and Italian: Farmacia Vaticana) is the only pharmacy in the Vatican City, founded in 1874 by Eusebio Ludvig Fronmen, a Fatebenefratelli religious.[1] According to Vatican sources, it is the busiest pharmacy in the world, with 2,000 customers per day.[1] Half of those customers come from outside the Vatican for medicines that are not available in Italy or are difficult to find.[2]

The current director of the pharmacy is Binish Thomas Mulackal, a Fatebenefratelli monk.[1] Although the director of the pharmacy has always been a monk of that order, the staff pharmacists have been lay people for the past 30 years (7 religious and 53 laypeople in 2014).[3] The pharmacy is organized under the Directorate of Health Services, one of eight Vatican City directorates.[4]


The pharmacy was founded in 1874, at the height of the "Roman Question", when Cardinal Secretary of State Giacomo Antonelli asked Eusebio Ludvig Fronmen, a Fatebenefratelli monk, who ran a nearby pharmacy, to take charge of supplying medicines for the pope and cardinals residing in the Vatican.[1] Popes had been confined to the Vatican since an 1870 dispute with the Italian government, when Rome was annexed into the Kingdom of Italy.[1]

The pharmacy remained only a storeroom until 1892, when a permanent office was established to offer healthcare services to the pope, cardinals, and bishops of the Vatican.[1] In 1917, the pharmacy was moved to St. Anne's Gate, closer to the main entrance of the Vatican.[1] At the time, the Vatican pharmacy was immensely popular for offering medicines which were otherwise unobtainable within Rome.[1] Even today, due to the complicated bureaucratic drug approval process of the Italian government, the pharmacy often has medicines months to years before Italian pharmacies.[1]

After the Lateran treaties of 1929, the pharmacy was moved to its current location in Palazzo Belvedere, behind the Vatican central post office and across from the Vatican supermarket.[1] Unlike Italian pharmacies, the Vatican Pharmacy will fill foreign prescriptions.[5]


Non-Vatican employees must obtain a temporary pass from a special registry office, and have a prescription and ID to use the pharmacy.[1] The 10,000 members of the Vatican's private health care plan possess a permanent pass to use the pharmacy.[1]

As Vatican City has no taxes, the pharmacy is duty-free.[1]


The pharmacy carries 42,000 products,[2] but it does not carry products which are contrary to Catholic social teaching, such as contraceptives or abortifacients.[1] Nor does the pharmacy carry sildenafil (Viagra)[6] or medical marijuana.[7] However, the pharmacy does carry "top-brand beauty-care products" and perfume.[1] Its prices for many items are between 12 and 25 percent lower than the prices of the same products in nearby Italian drug stores.[1] The pharmacy also produces some of the ointments and potions it sells.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Glatz, Carol. 2008, May 23. "World's busiest pharmacy? Vatican drugstore offers cut-rate prices." Catholic News Service.
  2. ^ a b Cindy Wooden (20 August 2017). "Vatican pharmacy does booming business". Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  3. ^ "Yearbook recounts life inside Vatican walls". 7 August 2015. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  4. ^ d'Onorio, Joël-Benoît. Levillain, Philippe (ed.). 2002. "Vatican City State" in The Papacy: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-92228-3. p. 1591.
  5. ^ Ward, Travis. 2002. Living, Studying, and Working in Italy. Macmillan. ISBN 0-8050-7306-X. p. 111.
  6. ^ NewsRX. 1998, October 26. "(1998-10-26), Vatican Pharmacy Says No to Viagra, Impotence & Male Health Weekly."
  7. ^ CWNews. 2002, May 23. "No Medical Marijuana at Vatican Pharmacy Archived 2003-11-18 at the Wayback Machine."

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