"The Propaganda for Reform"
Journal of the American Medical Association
While it is probably true that the physician's insufficient knowledge of drugs and of their use has been the chief cause for the growth of the proprietary specialty business, the phar¬ macist's inability to compound pnysicians' prescriptions prop¬ erly has also been a potent cause for the prescribing of readymade mixtures. Rancid or poorly made cod-liver oil emulsions have persuaded many a physician to prescribe Scott's Emul¬ sion or some similar nostrum. Gritty ointments and turbid eye-drops
... turbid eye-drops have induced specialists to use ready-made prepara¬ tions or to do their own dispensing. A program of a meeting of pharmacists-the Philadelphia Branch of the American Pharmaceutical Association-however, gives hopes that phar¬ macists are making serious efforts to improve professionally. While the programs of meetings of retail pharmacists are often devoted to price protection, window trimming and the proper handling of cigars (live commercial topics, it is true), the meeting of the Philadelphia branch was devoted to a dis¬ cussion of sterilization and its need as applied to pharmaceu¬ tical compounding. It also appears that the branch has a special committee whose function it is to arouse the interest of pharmacists throughout the country to the necessity of devising reliable methods for the preservation of galenicals, and also to the need of establishing a time limit for such pharmaceutical products as are known to deteriorate with age. Both of these subjects-the need in many cases of ster¬ ilizing pharmaceutical preparations, and the necessity of giv¬ ing proper attention to keeping qualities-are most important ones and their consideration cannot but be a benefit to profes¬ sional pharmacists. Therapeutically Suggestive Names for Medicines While it is desirable that the name of a medicine should convey an idea of its composition, the full chemical names of many new i-emedies are so long that their adoption is out of the question. It would not be practicable, for instance, to use the chemical name for Ehrlich's new arsenic preparation. 3-diamino-4-dihydroxy-l-arseno-benzene hydrochlorid. In the (last, however, there has been a tendency to adopt meaningless or cryptic names for medicines, such as Alypin, Orphol, Soaniin. Veronal, or worse still, names which are therapeutically suggestive, such as Bronchiline. Genitone. Laxaphen, Migrainin, Nephritin, Neurosine, Ovaritone, Trigemin and Uri-septin. More recently, largely as a result of the influence of the Council on Pharmacy and Chemistry, manufacturers have adopted names which are more satisfactory, or, at least, that are a vast improvement over those used in the past. Thus, among the articles more recently passed by the Council are, Arsenoferratin, an organic compound of iron and arsenic; Carbosant, a carbonate of santalol; Digipuratum, a purified digitalis extract; Guaiacodein, a compound of codein and guaiacol; Tannismuth, a tannate of bismuth. These names are brief and to a certain extent descriptive of their com¬ position. There is no basis for the excuse often given by exploiters of proprietary medicines for therapeutically sug¬ gestive names, namely, that it is impossible to coin names which are descriptive and yet sufficiently short and simple. Such disease-suggesting names as Antitussin, Pertussin, Migrainin, Somnos or Calmine should not be tolerated. Similarity Between Nitrite and Acetanilid Poisoning A physician recently wrote that a preparation of liquor sodii phosphatus compositus, when administered to a patient, produced symptoms that simulated acetanilid poisoning. The sample -sent in by the physician was examined bj' the Associa¬ tion chemists who reported : "Tests which would detect minute quantities of acetanilid failed to reveal the slightest trace of this substance. The odor of the solution was distinctly characteristic of oxids of nitrogen such as are produced in the decomposition of nitrates or nitrites. The presence of a small quantity of nitrate-a regular constituent of this preparation-was detected and also the presence of considerable quantities of a nitrite. Quantitative determinations showed the presence of an amount of nitrite equivalent to 2.9 per cent, sodium nitrite. It seems improbable that a nitrate used in the preparation of this mixture had decomposed to form a nitrite; it is more likely that a nitrite was used inadvertently. If this preparation was given in doses of 8 ce. (2 fluidrams)-the U. S. P. dose for liquor sodii phosphatus compositus-the patient received 0.2331 gm. or three and one-half times the U. S. P. dose of sodium nitrite." This note is published to point out the similarity between acetanilid and nitrite poisoning. Postgraduate Surgical Clinics in America To the Editor:\p=m-\The increasing importance of surgery and the increase in the number of good surgeons in America is especially evident to one who has traveled extensively over this country and has had opportunity to observe closely and for long periods of time the work of America's surgeons. To a physician, nothing is more interesting than to visit the clinics of other physicians and this applies also to surgeons. The custom is almost as old as medicine itself, and for many years numbers of American physicians have been going to Europe to visit the famous clinics for helpful suggestions and the pleasure of the trip. It is evident that the American surgical clinics are now finding a distinct place of their own. I recently returned from a two years' trip to some of the best-known clinics, where I gave time, energy and thought to the study of surgical diagnosis, technic, complications and after-treatment and others may be interested in a brief account of the opportunities for surgical study in America for graduate physicians, and description of places which seemed to be especially popular. A constantly growing number of physicians and surgeons from all parts of the country are visiting the Mayo clinics at Rochester, Minn., the clinics of Johns Hopkins, the surgical clinic of the German Hospital in Philadelphia (Deaver) and the clinics of Murphy and Ochsner in Chicago. At these places I have seen from 25 to 100 men, many of whom have national reputations, enjoying the splendid clinics and the gracious hospitality extended by the surgeons to visitors. The chiefs of these clinics realize what a compliment it is for men to come from all over the continent to learn from