Our British contemporary, the Lancet, recently lost a libel suit brought against it by the English agent for an American nostrum; the details have been given in our London letter.1 That the Lancet's criticism of the nostrum should have contained a statement that was not capable of documentary proof is unfortunate. Yet we incline to the belief that out of this evil will come much good. The trial and its result have awakened the public and the medical profession in England to the widespread use of habit-forming nostrums, and a vigorous crusade is now being waged against this evil.
The trial brought to light two facts that are worthy of consideration. One was that no fewer than three physicians—not irregulars, but licensed practitioners— admitted on the witness stand that they either had used the nostrum themselves or had prescribed it for their patients. This indicates that the moral and
THE LANCET LIBEL CASE.. JAMA. 1908;L(9):692. doi:10.1001/jama.1908.02530350038007