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JAMA 100 Years Ago
January 21, 2004

The Proposed National Bureau of Medicines and Foods.

Author Affiliations

JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 2004;291(3):380. doi:10.1001/jama.291.3.380


      SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 7, 1904

To the Editor:—Correspondence with the Joint Committee on a National Bureau of Medicines and Foods has developed several questions, one of which I should like to present through your columns for the purpose of eliciting suggestions. The question raised is as to the need for any such organization. There seems to be no dispute as to the truth of the fact that medicines and foods do not come up to fair standards of purity and identity. It is also agreed by all that many poor or worthless preparations of both pharmacopeial and extra-pharmacopeial preparations are on the market and are largely used. No one—especially no one in any way connected with medical journalism—has questioned the desirability of securing some means of determining the status of the host of mixtures, some ethical, some "proprietary," and some out-and-out nostrums, which now exist. The question at issue is as to the manner with which the situation shall be dealt. Can it be properly and successfully accomplished by legislation, either state or national? Some improvement can undoubtedly be secured through national legislation, insofar as the improvement of standard goods is concerned. But could national legislation, necessarily limited within the constitution, deal with more than a mere fraction of the problems that should be taken up and solved?

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