Not infrequently a physician is tempted in the case of a friend or intimate acquaintance to give a therapeutic hint rather than a formal prescription. He may name some simple drug that can be taken with benefit. Sometimes the motive will be no more than the avoidance of prescription rates in the dispensing of the drug suggested. The longer a physician is in practice the less is he liable to make this mistake, for mistake it always is and one that may sometimes be followed by even serious consequences. Probably every physician of considerable experience has had occasion to regret such occurrences. No matter how apparently unmistakable word-of-mouth directions are, the non-medical mind can not be depended on to follow them as intended. People seem to abandon what appears the plain path of ordinary common sense at times on the presumption that they are following their physician's directions.
INFORMAL PRESCRIBING AND ITS DANGERS.. JAMA. 1902;XXXVIII(16):1009–1010. doi:10.1001/jama.1902.02480160031004
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