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June 10, 1911


JAMA. 1911;LVI(23):1725. doi:10.1001/jama.1911.02560230027017

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The federal Food and Drugs Act, under the interpretation recently given it by the Supreme Court of the United States, has become practically a dead letter so far as it affords protection against the fraud and cruelty connected with the exploitation of "patent medicines." As was noted last week, the court has decided that the national pure food law does not prohibit false statements on labels or medicines so long as such statements are confined to curative effects and not to composition. To the average quack and "patent medicine" vender, such an interpretation will prove a priceless boon.

It should be borne in mind that the Food and Drugs Act does not require the composition of any "patent medicine" to be printed on the label; it does not even require the presence of any but a very few of the most powerful and dangerous drugs to be made public. A

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