In its earnest effort ostensibly to improve the study of therapeutics in the United States, The Journal of the American Medical Association, and the Powers that be, especially the celebrated Council of Pharmacy and Chemistry are advising, yea, are almost insisting, that the Regular profession prescribe only those remedies and compounds which are authorized by the U. S. P. and the National Formulary.
In order to facilitate such a plan, they have devised a series of compounds to take the place of certain well known and reliable proprietary medicines which it seems, the physicians are prescribing quite generally. In other words they authorize the use of liquor antiseptius, but discourage the use of Listerine, from which the formula of the former is copied. Also the liquor antisepticus alkalinus, instead of Glycothymoline and the Digestivum Compositius, instead of Lactopeptone.
They denounce Antikamnia, and rule its advertisements out of all of their journals, but advise the pulvis acetanilidi comp. made from the antikamnia formula, and so on, with such compounds as Antiphlogistine Bromidia, Fellow's Hypophosphites, Gray Glycerine Tonic Compound and Pepto-mangan.
In my opinion instead of encouraging the study of therapeutics this is simply another grand dodge. The National Formulary is supposed to give every pharmacist a formula for the manufacture of the compound advised. I don't believe it is possible for any pharmacist, with the formula given, even if the formula is correct, to duplicate these acknowledged superior compounds, and produce a preparation that for fineness of manufacture, will be in any way comparable, with these which are manufactured in most cases, with the utmost care and skill, for the profession at large. It is the pharmacy of these compounds, as well as their constituents, that has forced the profession to recognize their superiority and the National Formulary to acknowledge that superiority by authorizing and formulating their duplication.
Let any one who has used Listerine or Bromidia or Gray's Glycerine Tonic Compound or Fellow's Hypophosphites, and especially Glycothymoline, undertake to have their best pharmacist duplicate these preparations and see what will come of it. The palatability, the stability and the appearance of the duplicated preparation will in nearly every case show the compound to be exceedingly inferior. I can see no reason whatever, if they are going to use the compounds, why they should not use the proprietary compounds, which by virtue of the fact as stated, that they are made for the entire profession, and have been evolved by increasingly superior methods of manufacture, are plainly in every way superior. If the physician prescribes the product advised by the above named authorities, he is not doing his duty by his patient. He is prescribing an inferior product, and is enabling the druggist to make a large profit.
It seems to me, as I have constantly argued, that it is the duty of these authorities in the study and manufacture of remedies, to insist upon the study of the individual drug, thus enabling a thorough student to meet the indications in each case, if not possible by a single remedy, by a compound that is indicated, correctly and definitely, for that particular case. Furthermore, the narrowness of any board or any authority in insisting that a body of men should prescribe only as they dictate, when they cannot deny that they have been influenced by prejudice in many particulars, is absolutely inconsistent with the spirit of advancement today. So far the entire work of the Board of Pharmacy has been with compounds and proprietary remedies to give them a definite place. Such advancement is retrogression (?)
Ellingwood's Therapeutist, Vol. 2, 1908, was edited by Finley Ellingwood M.D.