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April 22, 1911


JAMA. 1911;LVI(16):1198-1199. doi:10.1001/jama.1911.02560160040017

One of the greatest handicaps to exact drug therapeutics is the fact that "impressions" either of the physician or of the patient play such an important part. Many other branches of medicine have been put on a truly scientific basis as a result of careful quantitative work, in either the laboratory or the clinic, or in both, but in drug therapeutics, such expressions as "the drug seemed to do good," are constantly used without the slightest attempt to measure any tangible effect, or to compare the case under treatment with one running a natural course. It is this habit of reliance on impressions which led physicians, fully as wise as any now living, to use for centuries drugs now entirely discarded; and it is this habit which keeps the modern pharmacopeias overburdened with equally useless drugs. It is rather surprising, however, to see what an important part "impressions" play even