The Heritage of the Gold Cross


The Guild’s Gold Cross logo is the ONLY logo in Australia that represents community pharmacy.

Worldwide there are symbols, signs and badges used to represent pharmacy, but the most used pharmacy symbol is the ‘Rx’.

Most pharmacists would say that the Rx is an abbreviation for the Latin word ‘recipere’ or ‘recipe’, which means ‘Take thou’. According to the Pharmaceutical Handbook 1980, the Latin abbreviation Rx is completed by a statement such as ‘fiat misttura’ which means ‘let a mixture be made’, sometimes abbreviated to f.m. or ‘ft mist’ or ‘fait mist’.

There is another school of thought that Rx is not, as is frequently considered, an abbreviation of the Latin word ‘recipe’ but is actually an invocation to the God Jupiter, a prayer for his aid to make the treatment effective, sometimes in old medical manuscripts all the Rx occurring in the text were crossed.

In other words, the Rx symbol was a corruption of the ancient symbol for the Roman God Jupiter. If you are an astrology fan, you know this symbol as a very similar crossed leg at the bottom.

There is another line of thinking that the pharmaceutical symbol used to be an EYE with an ‘x’ below it instead of the ‘R’ and was called the ‘Eye of Horus’ and accordingly, the Egyptian God Horus was the ‘father of pharmacy’.

The Greek tradition however, is considered the beginning point of European pharmacy, but it drew on Egyptian and Asian sources.

The Green Cross was first introduced as a pharmaceutical symbol in Europe in the early 20th Century and into Britain in the early 1980s.

During a visit overseas in 1962, Sir Eric Scott (National President, The Pharmacy Guild of Australia) noticed that pharmacies in France were identified by the use of the Green Cross. Upon his return to Australia he raised the issue of Guild pharmacies having a similar identification with the Federal Council and a decision was made to establish an appropriate means of identification.

The Guild worked with designer, Charles Fildes Senior to develop a Gold Cross as its identification mark. The cross would be of gold on a royal blue background with the international sign for recipe (Rx) in the centre. The Gold Cross sign became the registered trade mark of the Guild in 1962.