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March 2, 1946


JAMA. 1946;130(9):559-563. doi:10.1001/jama.1946.02870090013004

A former President of the American Medical Association, Dr. Herman L. Kretschmer,1 criticized the habits of physicians in writing prescriptions. The criticism provoked dozens of letters and innumerable comments, the majority offering support to Dr. Kretschmer's statements. Not all correspondents were agreed concerning the cause and cure of bad habits. Some blamed the pharmacologists; others insisted that the clinicians were at fault.

Obviously, however, many people are concerned about poor prescription writing. One well known educator wrote that the young medical practitioner dreads the writing of prescriptions because he lacks confidence that he may express his desires correctly, because he is in doubt concerning the best combinations and mixtures, and because he fears criticism from those who might observe his errors. He urges that four groups teach prescription writing: pathologists, clinicians, pharmacists and physicians who have graduated in pharmacy.

Another educator who responded to the Kretschmer article claimed that

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