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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 70.djvu/466

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462
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

times to direct and control the course of physical derangements than even the wisest layman.

Commercial principles are comprehensible by all; financial success is obtrusively tangible. A firm earning enormous sums by the sale of remedies is naturally supposed to be offering a valuable product. The professional spirit, the ethical, the scientific principles on which action must be based to be intelligently successful, are thus obscured. The great proportion of people of this country estimate the scientific practitioners of medicine, equipped as they are with years of patient scientific self-sacrificing education, as of small account compared with the material achievements of the great factors of nostrums and proprietary medicines. The sphere of acquired wealth, in comparison with this quiet faithful service, is obvious, speaks a comprehensible language.

The members of our profession in the concrete have quietly submitted to a domination at the hands of these manufacturers which is no less than contemptible. In matters of politics 'money talks,' The great power of the country resides in the public press. With them money also talks. Advertisements are paid for which alone aggregate sums close to the total of the gross earnings of legitimate practitioners. Hence naturally are induced alliances, defensive and offensive, whereby the power of the great drug houses becomes increasingly intrenched for good or evil.

The members of a learned profession are thus made to appear of little account. When they protest, as individuals, their voice is overborne by platoon fires of pseudo-scientific, advertising jargon till most of us become dazed and all but ready to capitulate before we can place our evidence on record, or even get a hearing.

Incredible sums of money are spent by the great drug manufacturing houses to make and hold their power. They are almost impregnable, but not quite. No physician in America earns such an income as is enjoyed by many individual members of these firms who live like royal princes, leaving at death fortunes which, when subdivided, suffice for generations of affluence. Yet the cure of all this peril is simple, but by no means easy of attainment. Physicians should act in concert and consistently. They should acquaint themselves accurately with the facts and educate the public to know where and how drugs may be best used, and especially point out where they should not.

First let us, every one, learn and make clear to the public at all times what are the effects of nostrums. Can they exercise any beneficent purpose? Emphatically no. What good end can they serve? It is difficult to see one. What possible advantage can accrue from this obtrusion of drugs in attractive shapes upon the receptive consciousness of the community? It may be claimed that every man has