How great a menace is the "patent medicine" man to the consumptive of today? This is a question that can probably never be answered with any degree of accuracy. So far as we have been able to ascertain, no study of the extent to which packaged medicines, put up under trade-marked names for self-medication, have been used by any specific group has been made in the past. It is probably fair to assume, however, that in years gone by, before the passage of the Food and Drugs Act made it illegal for a nostrum to carry a false and misleading label on the package, the use of quack remedies was widespread. While the passage of the act materially reduced the sale of many remedies that had been making claims impossible of fulfilment, it left the way open for a continuance of false and misleading statements in newspapers and other mediums.
WILLIAMS LR, HILL AM. THE USE OF "PATENT REMEDIES" BY TUBERCULOUS PATIENTS. JAMA. 1930;94(17):1292-1294. doi:10.1001/jama.1930.02710430016008