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March 23, 1907


JAMA. 1907;XLVIII(12):1035. doi:10.1001/jama.1907.02520380051011

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The specious argument has been advanced by the nostrum defenders that if the ingredients of "patent medicines" must be declared to the laity the prescriptions of physicians should also be given in English so that the patient may know what he is taking. This is a most ingenious sophistry. The medical profession has never suggested that "patent medicines" should be labeled so that the patient may know what he is taking. The whole basis of this agitation against secrecy is that the prescriber must know what he is giving. When a person employs a physician the latter is the prescriber, and he should know the composition of every medicine he uses; but if this person prescribes for himself he is the prescriber and should know what he prescribes. Now, if a physician's prescription is to be passed about among the laity we agree that it should have the English equivalents

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