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A large part of medical student life is spent in trying to memorize the contents of the materia medica and its auxiliaries. The drug catalogues sent gratis, and drug circulars and the spurious medical literature for advertising purposes comprise the auxiliaries. Names of drugs are arranged into classes for convenience, and later the names begin to keep company with other names which stand for disease. The hapless student works away for some years till he is prepared to answer examination questions pertaining to diseases and the drugs which it is affirmed cure them, he is then ready to be graduated in medicine, and soon takes up the practice of this acquired information upon other hapless ones, perchance to be found in some eleemosynary institution to which he is assigned for having shown himself specially fitted or judged by his ability to pass a medical examination in current theory and practice.
LEE E. HOW FAR DOES A SCIENTIFC THERAPY DEPEND UPON THE MATERIA MEDICA IN THE CURE OF DISEASE?.. JAMA. 1898;XXXI(15):826-828. doi:10.1001/jama.1898.92450150012001e