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July 27, 1963


JAMA. 1963;185(4):316. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03060040100033

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Should the patient know what drug he is taking? Should the name of the drug be written on the label where anyone can see it? Do patients know too much about their illness and its treatment? These are some of the questions physicians are asking themselves today.

Time was when doctors told their patients nothing and the patients seemed to want it that way. But the rising level of education among the American people, their great interest in matters of sickness and health, and the transformation of the "doctor-priest" to "doctor-scientist" have all contributed to the patient's expectation that his illness will be explained to him and that he will be told about the proposed treatment and what to expect from it. Doctors have encouraged this trend by writing medical columns in newspapers and magazines and by speaking to lay groups, as well as by bringing more nonphysicians into the

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