JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer
Reiling, Assistant Editor.
The recent utterances of the New York health commissioner showing the
adulteration in the pharmaceutical retail drug trade, and still later remarks
of the chemist of the Agricultural department to the New York Society of Medical
Jurisprudence, alike indicate the existence of an evil that especially affects
the medical practitioner. If we can not depend on the dispenser for pure articles
in our prescriptions the administration of medicine is a farce, and we had
better go back to the old saddle bag or the more modern buggy case. If reputable
drug stores, such as are many of the 300 from which the samples were obtained
by the New York health commissioner, can not be relied on, the situation would
seem to be discouraging. We can not lay everything to the retailers, however;
they are themselves often victims and the matter needs further investigation.
The foundation of a government drug laboratory, which would keep track of
the standard preparations and check adulteration, would be a boon not only
to the medical profession, but to its patrons. Of course, the manufacturers
of the adulterated proprietary drugs make the most of it, but to a certain
extent the high prices placed on their preparations which would otherwise
be more readily available give them a certain responsibility for the evil.
We hope the investigation will not be dropped until the evil practice is ended.
IMAGINARY BRIGHT'S DISEASE PRODUCED BY QUACK ADVERTISEMENTS.. JAMA. 2003;289(8):1052. doi:10.1001/jama.289.8.1052a