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September 30, 1939


JAMA. 1939;113(14):1348-1349. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.02800390070026

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To the Editor:—  Expositions of the principles of biologic assay such as those by Dale and by Burn have done much in recent years to diffuse an understanding of the logical basis of the method. The principles seem so simple and so obvious that one may easily come to observe them in a literal, perfunctory manner without realizing how easily this may lead to fallacy.Especially in the cases in which the drug to be assayed consists of a mixture of active components does it seem that a clarification of the principles is desirable. In this category, unfortunately, are some of the drugs for which biologic standardization is most essential. Digitalis, being one of the most important and most troublesome, will be considered in some detail.That the drug must be compared with a standard which contains the same active principle is now generally realized; yet the difficulty of finding

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