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July 22, 1922


JAMA. 1922;79(4):305-306. doi:10.1001/jama.1922.02640040051019

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Previous to 1914, the large proportion of the synthetic chemicals and drugs employed by American chemists and physicians was supplied by German chemical interests. So slight, indeed, had been the sporadic attempts to create an American organic chemical industry that it was not even necessary for German importers to carry large stocks of necessary drugs. Shortly after the outbreak of the war, serious shortages occurred, and the prices of imported drugs in America rose precipitously. Arsphenamin—then known only under the proprietary name "salvarsan"—sold at fabulous prices, and many were deprived of this spirocheticidal agent. So commercially important was the drug that it composed a large portion of the cargo of the Deutschland on its historic voyage. During the period of necessity, The Journal repeatedly urged editorially that the patents on this drug be abrogated. Concomitantly a shortage of dyes—interdependents of drugs— had occurred.

In 1917, after war between the United

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