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March 23, 1940

SCIENCE AND SAL HEPATICA

JAMA. 1940;114(12):1082-1083. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810120054015

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Abstract

If you listen to Fred Allen on Wednesday nights, and apparently a good many people do, you will hear his announcer make some comments about the scientific research conducted by leading medical magazines which indicate that a high percentage of doctors always prescribe a saline laxative when treating a common cold. Of course the names of the leading medical magazines are not given; yet it would not be hard to guess the name of the commercial publication that conducted this survey for the Bristol-Myers Company.

Part of the scientific story is the claim that Sal Hepatica is the "mineral salt laxative that does two things, not just one; it rids the body of waste and it also combats acidity." The history of Sal Hepatica is a strange commentary on the kind of science that used to be sold to credulous Americans. In 1911 Sal Hepatica was advertised as a uric

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