Istanbul’s historic pharmacy to become museum
Melih Ziya Sezer, owner of one of the oldest pharmacies in Istanbul’s Moda district, has died at the age of 90. It has been reported that the 120-year-old pharmacy will become a museum after the death of Sezer, who has been healing for years in the pharmacy he inherited from his father.
In an interview with Demirören News Agency (DHA) last year, Sezer stated that running a pharmacy is an art, not a trade.
Sezer had been a pharmacist for more than 70 years. He was the owner of one of the oldest pharmacies in Istanbul, which was established in 1902 in Kadıköy, Moda. Due to his health problems Sezer had to close his pharmacy which he devoted his life to, in March.
He died of heart failure at the age of 90 on June 29. After the death of Sezer, who was one of the former presidents of the Istanbul Chamber of Pharmacists, the fate of Yeni Moda Pharmacy became a matter of curiosity.
Expressing his great sadness due to the death of his father, Marmara University Department of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Faculty Member Professor Ali Demir Sezer said that the pharmacy will become a museum.
After Sezer’s death, a note saying “Goodbye Melih Abi” was put on the shutter of the pharmacy.
Next to Sezer’s pharmacy, furniture maker Selahattin Yılmaz said, “He was my friend for 57 years, my brother. We have been neighbors since 1965. We were together for all these years. He was not just a pharmacist; he was a real scientist. The drugs he made were 100 percent healing. He also gave me medicine. In 1963, I had calluses on my feet due to boots I wore in the military. 10 years ago, I asked him what to do. He checked my feet and gave me a medicine in the evening. I took this drug twice and it healed my problem 100 percent. I have had no problems for 10 years. I think this place should be a museum, it would be suicide for such a place to disappear. Production is very important, a 90-year-old person was producing in the laboratory until the evening hours.”
From Eczane’i Saadet to Yeni Moda
In his interview last year, Sezer explained the history of the pharmacy as follows:
“The pharmacy was first established by Faik İskender Bey under the name of Eczane-i Saadet in Kızıltoprak. Since one of the two pharmacies in Kızıltoprak had to be closed due to the Restriction Law enacted in 1928, it moved to Moda and its name was changed to ‘Moda Pharmacy.’ When Faik İskender Bey passed away in 1936, Moda Pharmacy was for sale and my father, Halil Nejat Sezer, bought it. My father graduated from Istanbul University in 1925. He opened his first pharmacy in the Birecik district of his hometown, Şanlıurfa, under the name Yeni Pharmacy, and in 1935 he transferred it to Konya Karaman under the name Yeni Pharmacy. When he took over the pharmacy in Moda in 1937, he merged the names and the Yeni [New] Moda Pharmacy was established. My father died at the age of 44. I have been operating the pharmacy since 1950. This pharmacy has been run by our family since 1937.”
Stating that pharmacy is not a trade but an art, Sezer said, “In the past, most drugs were made in pharmacies. After 1950, fabricated drugs began to be produced. In the past, there were cough syrups, strength syrups and ointments in pharmacies. At that time, doctors used to write formulas for us. But now doctors who prescribe formulas are few. Because doctors are fabricated, too. Currently, customers still bring us a few prescriptions, and we make them as much as we can. However, pharmacy is an art, not a trade. You enjoy art when you produce something out of it.”
In his interview, Sezer said, “I am 90 years old, and I want to work as much as I can. After I die, my family will decide to make this place a museum or to sell it.”