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Issues in Dermatology
June 1999

Is Pharmaceutical Sponsorship of a Dermatologic Conference Proper?

Arch Dermatol. 1999;135(6):645-646. doi:10.1001/archderm.135.6.645

When Alfred Hardy and his staff, which consisted of only a single person, organized the first International (World) Congress of Dermatology and Syphilology at the Hôpital Saint-Louis in August 1889 in Paris, France, it was a meeting of 220 scientists who sought to learn from each other by exchanging experiences and ideas. In those days, dermatology was medicine that was based mainly on experience alone, although, even then, great dermatologists tried to practice medicine predicated on evidence as well. As one example of that conflict in mentality, Wickham called attention to the fact that Paget disease of the nipple could be recognized morphologically as distinct from eczema. Despite his knowing that the process on the nipple was related to cancer, he nonetheless asserted that it was a parasitic disease, "since the psorosperms could even be seen in the scales being shed."1

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