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TO PHYSICIANS AND DRUGGISTS.
The subject of Unbleached and Hospital Quinine has been so much discussed of late and appears to be so little understood that it is deemed proper to submit the following, which is in accord with our best knowledge and experience in the purchase and use of this article, for it should be remembered that the processes used in the manufacture of Quinine in all countries are kept secret by the various manufacturers, who are a limited number, and said to be comprised within about fifteen establishments of much importance.
Bleached Sulphate of Quinine is recognized as pure, when it will bear what is called the Ether test, which, while it is not an absolute standard, is the recognized and accepted test, and should be applied, in accordance with the directions of the U.S. Pharmacopeiæ, to all White or Bleached Sulphate of Quinine.
Unbleached Quinine has been regarded with favor in pharmaceutical manufactures, because it has been usually quoted by our manufacturing chemists at from 30 to 40 cents per ounce cheaper than the Bleached, and there has existed among many physicians a prejudice in its favor, as a more natural preparation even if it did contain a small percentage of the other alkaloids of Bark. It has been used in general by many of our best and most accomplished pharmacists under this supposition, and was used by us extensively until last Fall, when our experiments in manufacturing Quinine from Bark and recovering Quinine from Gelatine-Coated Pills (which we had from time to time rejected on account of irregular shape or imperfect coating), taught us in reality that our previous methods of analysis and determination of this important salt were defective, further that there were in market two quite distinct articles in proportion of constituents, the one being evidently an arrested manufacture, or Quinine as the result of probably a single crystallization, in place of four as usually required to separate completely the Cinchonidia and Quinidia and bring the result up to the Ether test; and another article, the result of concentration and crystallization of the so-called mother waters, used in successive crystallizations as before explained, which carries, with the salts of Cinchonidia and Quinidia in solution to be eliminated, a nearly equal amount of Quinia, the result being, always, as far as our experience goes, from 35 to 45% of Quinia Sulphate in combination with Cinchonidia Sulphate mainly, and a small portion of Quinidia Sulphate.
This latter article, which we have denominated Hospital Quinine, to distinguish it from the first described unbleached (although the terms have often been applied synonymously), we have reason to believe was sent us in the last shipments we received; notwithstanding the manufacturer's contract and our former erroneous method of analysis to the contrary.
The discovery of these facts, on our part, for the first time last Autumn, led to consultation with several distinguished chemists and pharmacists, and the whole ground was carefully reviewed and examined, and the conclusion arrived at was, that all ordinary tests in inexperienced hands for quantitative analysis of Quinine,when it was in natural combination with the other alkaloids of Cinchona Bark, could not be relied upon, and the only safety in general pharmaceutic manufacture consisted in the use of Bleached or White Quinine.
This determination was announced by us last Fall in the various journals, as was supposed, in sufficient explanation, it having always been our custom to fully explain and inform the trade in regard to our methods of business, which are always open.
We regret only that we are not able to give more specific and positive additions to knowledge about this matter of Quinine and the other Cinchona alkaloids, because it deserves and is receiving very much attention and investigation at the hands of physicians and chemists as one of the most valuable of all remedies, and that, since our change from Unbleached to Bleached Quinine, last November, evil-disposed persons have taken occasion to misrepresent and misconstrue the facts for selfish purposes. There are fortunately a few facts that cannot be misconstrued. From our first connection with the inventor of the machinery for making Gelatine-Coated Pills, which commenced with the furnishing of materials for manufacture to the inventor in 1871, till November 24th, 1877, only Unbleached Quinine was used, and it was as carefully examined, as could be, by various analysts until 1876, when our present analyst entered into our employ, highly recommended for general knowledge and experience, and deservedly so outside of Quinology,which is the most difficult of subjects, because of variety in raw material and in alkaloids, that are so very similar as to be most difficult of entire separation.
Since November 24th, 1877, we have only used Bleached Sulphate of Quinine in our Sulphate of Quinine Pills, as stated in our circulars.
We will remark that we believe, as the result of much experience, that a natural combination of the alkaloids of Cinchona Bark in good proportion is a better therapeutic for general use than any single alkaloid separated, and we attribute much of the favor attending our peculiar form of coating to the use of Unbleached Quinine, as employed up to November last in the proportion of 111 ounces (more or less, according to our then supposed analysis) in place of 100 ounces of Bleached, as has been formerly carefully explained, but we defer this subject to the experience of the physician, being out of the province of the druggist.
It is the duty of the druggist and pharmacist to be well informed and not to misrepresent or conceal any fact in experience in manufacture or investigation, and we will be pleased to do this at alı times, when called upon, as only thus can knowledge be advanced or confidence maintained, hence this article, which is respectfully submitted.
May 18, 1878.
MCKESSON & ROBBINS.
Fresh and pure medicines.
Owing to the large demand we are having for our choice Pomegrante Bark, and the frequent call for directions for preparing the decoction, we have concluded to print full directions for making the decoction of this most excellent cure for tape worm, and hereafter will enclose same with each package of bark.
We have the Fluid Extract of the TRUE BERBERIS AQUIFOLIUM. Our Berberis Aquifolium was gathered expressly for us, and physicians may depend upon getting the genuine if it bears our label.
We have been selling the tincture and Fluid Extract of that very old remedy Fucus VESICULOSUS a dozen years or more, and are prepared to continue furnishing a superior article of this remedy, long used as an anti-fat medicine and a cure for scrofulous swellings. (See U. S. Dispensatory, Journ. de Pharm. 1862, Dublin Quarterly Journ. of Med Sci. May 1864, &c., &c. Prof. J. M. Maisch, some time ago gave a very fine description of the plant. It is "an obsolete remedy restored to favor" (Proc. Am. Pharm. Assoc. 1877).
Our preparations of Grindelia Robusta are standard and not excelled.
Our preparations of Grindelia Squarrosa are standard and not excelled.
Our preparations of Yerba Santa are THE STANDARD. (We prepared the extract of this article before it had been mentioned in
medical journal, and have reason to believe we made it first of any manufacturer east of the rocky mountains.)
Fluid Extract of Kava Kava has now become one of our staple preparations and is in much demand.
Fluid Extract of Boldo Leaves we prepared when the drug was first introduced.
Fluid Extract of Jaborandi we are sending out every day.
We call the attention of all physicians to our prices current which we send FREE on application. And will say which is well known that we supply pure medicines as cheap as they can be sold.
N. B. It will be seen that our list comprises all new and old remedies, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, crude and powdered drugs, medical books, instruments, and all articles physicians require. Send to us direct if not in reach of our agents.
Merrell, Thorp & Lloyd.