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January 13, 1975

In A Minor Key

JAMA. 1975;231(2):181. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03240140041027

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We are witnessing a proliferation of remedies for "minor" pains, aches, and ailments. Widely advertized on television and radio are drugs for arthritis-minor-pain, indigestion-minor-pain, premenstrual-minor-pain, and the like. So great is the demand for these medications that drug stores can be expected to install counters, and supermarkets to set aside aisles, for their display.

Apart from generating a few grammatical crudities, circumlocutory misstatements, and tautological absurdities in their "commercials," these minor medications seem harmless enough. They are inexpensive. Moreover, they often fill a therapeutic gap. Doctors are notoriously indifferent to what they consider to be inconsequential complaints.

Nor are the commercials, simplistic as they may be, outrageously offensive. After all, they make no claim to miraculous healing, no pretensions of curing major disorders. All they promise is relief from minor symptoms. So why not be thankful for minor blessings?

The answer would have been simple, were it not for the