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Oct. 28, the following officers were elected: President, J. L. Peck, of Scranton; vice presidents, F. K. Bryan, of Corning, and E. H. Hill, of Pittston, Pa.; secretary-treasurer, C. S. Winters, of Binghamton. Among those who made addresses were Mrs. Eddy, of Elmira; Drs. Hill, of Pittston, Pa.; Lee, of Rochester; Peck, of Scranton; Ashcrofts, of Philadelphia; Adriance, of Elmira, and Laidlaw, of New York. The next meeting will be in Scranton, Pa., in October, 1905.
*** The Miami Valley Homeopathic Medical Society at its meeting held in Dayton, October 27, elected the following officers: J. T. Ellis, Waynesville, President; C. W. Ginn, Dayton, Vice President; H. W. Dickinson, Dayton, treasurer; W. W. Ensey, Dayton, secretary ; Censors, H. H. Wiggers, Cincinnati; H. T. Miller, Springfield; C. E. Hetherington, Piqua; Executive Committee, Frank Webster, Ira J. Herr, Charles Zermuhlen, Dayton; Legislative Committee, J. W. Means, Troy; M. P. Hunt, Columbus; H. E. Beebe, Sidney. The society will hold the next meeting in Cincinnati in May.
*** The American Public Health Association holds its thirtysecond annual meeting at Havana, Cuba, Jan. 9-13, 1905. The membership of this Association extends throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Cuba. The secretary is Dr. C. O. Probst, Columbus, Ohio, who is the state health cfficer. The line of papers to be presented takes up water supplies, sewage, infectious and communicable diseases, hygiene, sanitation, besides water analyses, both bacteriological and chemical. It is an organization which has been very influential in the procuring of better surroundings and better living in this country, as well as in others where its members are located. Dr. D. H. Beckwith, of this city, is a prominent and interested member of the Association.
*** An interesting test of the respective merits of the homeopathic and allopathic treatment for consumptives is being made in the Home for Consumptives, at Kingston avenue and St. John's place, Brooklyn. Two reports were read at the annual meeting of the institution, one from the homeopathic, the other from the allopathic physicians. The homeopathic report showed seventy-two men and forty-one women under treatment in the year ending September 30. Of these, ten men and six women were discharged as improved. There remained twenty-one men and nineteen women. The allopathic report for the same period showed that 207 men and 104 women had been under treatment, of whom thirty-eight men and twenty-one women were discharged improved, and there remained forty-five men and twenty women in the home.
*** We note the acceptance by Dr. A. P. Williamson of the position of Medical Superintendent of the Southern California Hospital for the Insane. This institution is situated near Redlands, Cal., and has been having splendid success in the management of the insane. It was here that the unfortunate and lamented Stanley Dolan served as first assistant physician until the time of his death. Dr. Williamson has been in private practice in Minneapolis for the past twelve years. Before that time he occupied a number of official positions. He was for a number of years at the Middletown (N. Y.) State Hospital for the Insane, serving in the interim between two appointments to that institution as medical superintendent of the Ward's Island Hospital. In 1890 Dr. Williamson was appointed superintendent of the Minnesota State Hospital for the Insane at Fergus Falls. He served here but two years, however, resigning to enter private practice in Minneapolis. For nearly ten years he was dean of the Homeopathic Medical Department of the University of Minnesota. Congratulations are due both Dr. Williamson and the institution which obtains his valuable services.
*** The October meeting of the Cleveland Homeopathic Medical Society was a successful one. Some forty members were present, about half of these taking supper together previous to the meeting. The president, Dr. H. H. Baxter, presided.
Before taking up the regular program of the evening Dr. George W. Spencer presented an extremely interesting case of icthyosis histrix. In this condition the skin becomes very hard and nodular, much like the appearance of fish scales. The patient was one who was affected particularly in the hands and feet and at the flexures of the joints. Dr. Spencer gave a very interesting description of the disease, which is a very rare one, but few cases being on record. The patient was carefully examined by the members of the society, who were much interested in the presentation of the case.
Following this Dr. Spencer read an extremely interesting and carefully written paper on “The Vital Force,” treating the subject from a psychological standpoint in a very interesting way. The paper will be published in a future number of the REPORTER. The paper was discussed by Drs. Phillips, Baxter and Horner.
PROPRIETARIES. During the meeting of the American Medical Association held at Atlantic City last June, representatives of the state medical journals conceived and promulgated the idea that mutual interests would be better served, a bond of sympathy and good will created between themselves, and the profession at large benefited by an association termed “The American Association of State Medical Journals.”
One of their number whose bump of wisdom was more normally developed than that of some of those present, succeeded in having final action on the project deferred until the meeting of the A. M. A. at Portland, Ore., next year.
The points of special interest in their declaration of principles are, (1) No journal of this association shall accept an advertisement of a medicine which is not ethical, and “ethical” shall mean that the product advertised must have published with it not only the names of its constituent parts, but also the amount of such constituents, so that a definite dosage can be determined. Further, such product must not be advertised in the secular press, to the laity. (2) If a product is marketed under à copyrighted name, the manufacturer shall furnish with it the proper chemical name, and if not patented, then also the process of manufacture.
(3) All advertisements not covered by the above paragraphs, or which contain extravagant or improbable claims, shall be submitted to the executive committee for approval before they can be accepted.
If the representatives present had any desire or wish for anything further they did not express it, and it is fair to presume that they do not want anything more. Were an excessive or inordinate desire for gain present they might have demanded a share of stock in each company who patronized them or levied on a portion of their patrons' receipts,-pabulum for the "kitty" as it were, but as nothing of this sort was done, they cannot be accused of having had the slightest mercenary or other improper motives when their declaration of principles was formulated.
If they are ever put into actual operation the "bond of sympathy". ought to be ordered exceptionally strong, as it is not difficult to forsee that the demands made upon it will be unusually heavy.
There is probably no question but that state medical journals, at least the more influential ones, can be conducted without a loss, without a page of advertising matter, as members of the state associations are in a measure morally bound to pay their subscriptions, if, in fact, the state association does not set aside a dollar or two from the annual dues of the members as a reserve for the expenses of their official organ, but the question of profit had better not be discussed.
It is also true that many independent medical journals could be issued regularly from month to month from the amounts received from subscribers, but it is safe to assume that medical editors and publishers "live not by glory alone,” and do, undoubtedly, depend upon the commercial side for their maintenance and profit, to a considerable extent.
Notwithstanding the enormous circulation of some of the great daily papers of our large cities, but a small proportion of the excellent service we all enjoy is due to the amount received from subscriptions, and were it not for the general advertiser, the modern newspaper, with its foreign news department as completely served as its domestic, its elegant press work and fine illustrations, brilliant and lucid editorials written by men whose salaries run into five figures, would dwindle to a mere job sheet, more despised than read.
As this project is scheduled to lie over until the next annual meeting of the A. M. A. there is ample time for a thorough consideration of the subject, and although no prophet, nor the son a prophet, we venture the prophecy that its consummation will never be accomplished unless suicide is contemplated, and that the executive committee who are delegated to pass upon the propriety of proposed advertisements, will not be compelled to shorten their office hours nor curtail their outside work in order to perform their duties.
Medicinal preparations of a proprietary nature possess a distinctive character as marked as that of individuals, due to the process of manufacture and fixed composition. Many of the better known preparations would not suffer by the publication of their exact formulae, as, for example, when certain complicated laboratory machinery, is required for their perfect manufacture, but this is not true of many well known preparations whose nature is that of a simple compound.
It is, however, also true that if the exact formulae of certain proprietary remedies were known and taken to a number of skilled pharmacists for compounding the results would differ in nearly every instance.
A common example is the preparation Essence of Pepsin. Every druggist can make it, and practically all do make it, all perhaps using the standard formula, yet, write ten prescriptions and compare the results! Compound Syrup of Hypophosphites is another example; this preparation can be found on the shelf of every drug store in the country, yet in appearance, taste and action all differ, and in many instances materially.
It is not to be supposed that a preparation can always be duplicated providing the formula is known, but such a procedure would encourage substitution to an alarming extent, and in this fact lies the greatest danger. While substitution is probably not practiced as generally as some writers would lead one to believe, especially by the retail druggist on individual prescriptions, there is another form of substitution which, while in a sense is not deceptive nor fraudulent, is nevertheless an imposition upon the original manufacturer and a source of positive financial loss to him.
This form of substitution is found in the drug stores presumed to be of the higher grade, the store located on the principal street and the most prominent corner. The proprietor has a certain percentage more brains than his uptown or downtown competitor; he has the ability to develop his one time drug store into a department store with a drug department; he is patronized by the elite, and the high-priced doctors send their prescriptions to him for compounding.
Does this druggist substitute ? Not much! He has sufficient intelligence to see beyond the extra dime or quarter profit he might make by using a cheap substitute for a high-priced proprietary; he argues that he charges good prices for his prescriptions and can afford to buy all the high-priced chemicals and compounds that the doctor may write for, but his keenly developed mental equipment soon reaches the conclusion that there is a shorter road to wealth than by the prescription, via proprietary remedy, route.
By the aid of his knowledge of chemistry and pharmacy, and a few timely hints by the editor of his drug journal, he soon perfects an elegant imitation of a certain proprietary, which, strange to relate, often possesses more virtue and curative power than the original. (?)
He now calls upon Dr. So and So and the others who have favored him with their business, thereby conceding evidence of their confidence in him and mutely acknowledging their belief in his superior ability, and in a few well-chosen words convinces the doctor that it is foolish to pay one dollar an ounce, or one dollar a pint for a remedy that can be duplicated for less than half the amount, as he supposes. The doctor's attention is called to the fact that he, as an intelligent and educated physician, can, of course, readily see that nothing is gained by adhering to the old and genuine preparation, and the result is, he prescribes the druggists' imitation product more or less afterward. By continual efforts in this direction, worthy of a nobler purpose, doctors are constantly imposed upon through a want of a proper knowledge of the facts, but who believe the statements repeatedly made by the interested parties.
That harm frequently results from lack of precaution on the part of the physician there can be no doubt, yet, the remedies prescribed are not always absolutely indicated and in many cases the expected results are not obtained, even when genuine remedies are dispensed,