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COMMONWEALTH v. DIMAS (11/15/51)

November 15, 1951

COMMONWEALTH
v.
DIMAS



COUNSEL

Samuel R. Liever, Richard G. Fuller, Jr., Reading, for appellant.

John E. Ruth, Dist. Atty., John V. Boland, Asst. Dist. Atty., Reading, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Dithrich, Ross, Arnold and Gunther, JJ.

Author: Rhodes

[ 170 Pa. Super. Page 6]

RHODES, President Judge.

Appellate was charged before an alderman with the violation of section 15 of the Act of May 17, 1917, P.L. 208, as amended, 63 P.S. § 321, which prohibits the use of the words 'drug store' or 'pharmacy' in the conduct of a business unless the place of business is in fact a drug store or pharmacy duly registered and authorized. After hearing, the magistrate found the appellant guilty, and imposed a fine of $50 and costs. Appellant was allowed to appeal to the Court of Quarter Sessions of Berks County. A hearing de novo was held before that court. The court found that appellant was

[ 170 Pa. Super. Page 7]

    guilty of a violation of section 15 of the Act of May 17, 1917, P.L. 208, as amended, and, on May 10, 1951, imposed a sentence consisting of a fine of $50 and costs.

It appears that appellant operates two stores in the City of Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania. His place of business at Fifth and Washington Streets is admittedly not a registered pharmacy. Appellant's place of business at Ninth and Penn Streets is a registered pharmacy, being conducted as Dimas Rexal Drug Store. The signs prominently displayed at the Fifth and Washington Streets store consist of large neon electric signs above the display windows, reading: 'Toiletries. (Dimas Service Store) Cut Rate,' '(Dimas Service Store) Luncheonette,' while immediately below and running across the top of each large display window is a sign reading. 'Welcome Rexall Drug Store 9th and Penn.' This last mentioned sign appears at the top of four large display windows; the words 'Welcome' and '9th and Penn' are not as Prominently displayed as the words 'Rexall Drug Store,' but appear only at the ends of the windows in lighter and smaller lettering.

Section 15 of the Act of May 17, 1917, P.L. 208, as amended, 63 P.S. § 321, reads as follows: 'That it shall be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to use the title: 'pharmacist,' 'assistant pharmacist,' 'druggist,' or 'apothecary,' except as authorized by this act of Assembly, or hereafter to conduct or transact business under a name which contains as part thereof, with or without qualifying words, syllables, prefixes, or suffixes the words: 'drug store,' 'pharmacy,' 'medicine store,' 'medicine shop,' or 'drug shop,' or any term having a similar meaning, or in any manner by advertisement, circular, poster, sign, symbol, insignia, or otherwise, describe or refer to the place of business conducted or carried on by such person, firm, or corporation, by the terms 'drug store,' 'pharmacy,' or any other

[ 170 Pa. Super. Page 8]

    term having a similar meaning unless the place of business is a drug store or pharmacy duly registered and authorized by the State Board of Pharmacy. Any person, firm, or corporation violating this section of this act of Assembly shall, upon conviction in a summary proceeding, be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than twenty-five dollars ($25.00) nor more than fifty dollars ($50.00) and the costs of prosecution, and in default of the payment of such fine and costs shall be imprisoned for ten days.'

The question presented on this appeal is whether appellant's admitted conduct constitutes a violation of the statute. The purpose of the quoted section of the Act is plain. It prohibits, inter alia, describing or referring to a place of business by the term 'drug store' or 'pharmacy' unless such place of business is a drug store or pharmacy duly registered and authorized by the State Board of Pharmacy. The Act of 1917 is entitled 'An Act To regulate the practice of pharmacy and sale of poisons and drugs, and providing penalties for the violation thereof; * * *.' Although the Act contains penal provisions, it is remedial in nature, and it belongs to that class of legislation which has for its objective the protection of the health and safety of ...


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