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JAMA 100 Years Ago
February 22/29, 2012


JAMA. 2012;307(8):758. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.76

Last week we called attention to a new organization, composed of a number of the large pharmaceutical manufacturing companies, the National Association of Manufacturers of Medicinal Preparations. Here it is worth noting that at least one manufacturing company was unable to stomach this newest cabal in the pharmaceutical world and refused to join it—although its representative was present at its organization. As we then recorded, with sorrow, this association is apparently opposed to legislation in the interest of public health and safely whenever such legislation would result in decreased profits for the manufacturers. For instance, it opposes the law that would prohibit the making of exaggerated and misleading therapeutic claims; it opposes the law that would regulate the transportation of habit-forming drugs and it opposes a law requiring the weight of drugs, sold in package form, to be printed on the label. To all this we called attention last week. The National Association of Manufacturers of Medicinal Preparations also opposes a law that would compel the manufacturers of all medicinal preparations to put their own names on their own products. Those of our readers who remember an article published in THE JOURNAL a year and a half ago, entitled “Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and the Great American Fraud,” will realize at once why this association of pharmaceutical manufacturers is opposed to any law that would permit the public and particularly the medical profession, to know the class of trade some of its members cater to. It would naturally prove embarrassing, if not positively painful, if some of the members of this association should have to put their names on such of their products as “Nyal's Headache Wafer,” which were declared misbranded under the Food and Drugs Act; “Robusto,” the “true bracer for young men”; the pills that were sold by the Nutriola fraud; the “patent medicines” that were supplied to “Professor” Adkin of the notorious New York Institute of Physicians and Surgeons; “Cascarets,” which “work while you sleep,” or “Danderine,” which “grows hair and we can prove it.” Under the circumstances, then, it is not surprising to learn that the secretary of the National Association of Manufacturers of Medicinal Preparations characterized the bill which would permit the public to identify the manufacturer as “a foolish provision,” or that the president of this organization should look on the bill as one “that we can conscientiously oppose.” If one's sense of humor can stand the strain, this fact is worth noticing: The president of this new organization, who thus opposes a law that will throw light on the connection between pharmaceutical manufacturers and the “great American fraud,” was nominated for his position by a manufacturer who has long shouted from the house-tops that he made “no dope for quackery”! Verily, politics and the nostrum business make strange bed-fellows!