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November 20, 1937


JAMA. 1937;109(21):1724-1725. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.92780470007014

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The report on the Elixir of Sulfanilamide-Massengill episode published in the November 6 issue of The Journal, pages 1531-1539, contained a survey map of the deaths to October 29. Herewith the survey map is brought down to date. This shows that there have been seventy-three deaths reported to November 11. As may be seen, all but a few of the reported deaths have been from the Southern states. It is emphasized that the additional deaths reported are not recent but have only recently been reported as having followed the administration of Elixir of Sulfanilamide-Massengill. That no recent deaths have occurred shows the effect of the wide publicity initiated by The Journal and the excellent work of the government in removing the product from the market.

In reports appearing in the newspapers and elsewhere there has been considerable confusion; many of the deaths have been attributed to sulfanilamide, which was not the causative factor. As pointed out previously, the diethylene glycol used in the solvent was the harmful agent. There has been further confusion between the various sulfanilamide derivatives, their properties and names, and the chemical difference between ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol. For the information of physicians there is reproduced herewith a chart, modified from that shown at the last annual session of the American Medical

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