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December 2, 1911

The Chemistry of Synthetic Drugs.

JAMA. 1911;LVII(23):1858. doi:10.1001/jama.1911.04260120048029

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Abstract

Some of us made our first attempt to study chemical sis with the aid of a text-book of the "cook-book" style; that is, one which gave the student little or no information in regard to the chemical reactions which occurred in the course of an analysis or the object of the reagents added or the operations directed. Those of us who can recall our utter helplessness and confusion during these days, may be able to sympathize with the uncritical use of medicaments by some physicians and may be inclined to condone the use of ready-made complex mixtures of doubtful potentiality—for have we not, in the time gone by, blindly used complex solutions and followed incomprehensible directions and yet felt justified in expecting reliable results?

But, while in chemical analysis empiricism has been replaced by knowledge and each reagent is added for a perfectly specified purpose, in medicine the

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