While physicians prescribe cures for their patients’ various ills, it is the apothecary who actually makes the medicine. Specialists in minerals, chemicals, and salts derived from organic matter, the apothecary mixes powders to be taken with wine, unguents to apply to infected areas, and medicinal incenses to drive away unhealthy vapours.
Guild law allows them to prescribe for minor ailments, such as a cold or stomach-ache, but few do since many physicians are resentful of the competition. While some apothecaries move on to higher careers in medicine or academia, others turn their knowledge to personal greed or succumb to a desire to harm others. Some apothecaries have been known to feed their clients drugs disguised as medicine, forcing them to come back and pay higher prices to feed their addiction, while others sell their services as poisoners, splitting the profits with an aggrieved widow or heir.[1a]