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March 10, 1945


JAMA. 1945;127(10):593-594. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860100037011

Physicians, listing the ten most important drugs used in medicine in 1910, chose them in the following order: (1) ether, (2) morphine, (3) digitalis, (4) diphtheria antitoxin, (5) smallpox vaccine, (6) iron, (7) quinine. (8) iodine, (9) alcohol and (10) mercury. Just five years previously the Council on Pharmacy and Chemistry had been established to eliminate from medicine the shotgun therapy based on indiscriminate empirical remedies. Out of their efforts came such works as Useful Drugs. The same impetus brought about intensive revision of the United States Pharmacopeia, which today, along with Useful Drugs and New and Nonofficial Remedies, may be said to constitute the proved armamentarium of the physician.

Tremendous advancement has occurred in the field of therapy since 1910—so great indeed that it is almost impossible to list today ten individual remedies which might be said to be the ten most important or useful in medical practice. In