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November 6, 1937


JAMA. 1937;109(19):1546. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780450050016

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The unnecessary deaths of more than sixty people who took a pharmaceutical preparation labeled "elixir of sulfanilamide," secret in composition and unstandardized, emphasizes again the importance of securing as soon as possible adequate legislation relating to foods, drugs, diagnostic and therapeutic devices and cosmetics. Either by amendment of present food and drugs laws or by the passage of new laws the public must be protected. The Food and Drugs Act of 1906, as pointed out in the special article on this subject by our Bureau of Legal Medicine and Legislation, published elsewhere in this issue, fails in various ways to protect the consumer. It does not provide adequate standards of purity, potency, wholesomeness and labeling of foods and drugs, nor does it provide for suitable penalties when foods and drugs fail to meet such standards as it does establish. It provides no standards for diagnostic and therapeutic devices or for

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