National Geographic : 1919 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO GO BACK TO MEDIEVAL TIMES TO FIND WITCH DOCTORS; THEY ARE PLYING THEIR PROFESSION TODAY IN NATAL, SOUTH AFRICA But in civilized countries, the day of the medical charlatan is at an end. Occasionally there are "flare-ups," but when secrecy about formulas and practices was abolished it became impossible for pretenders to hold sway over popular imagination for any length of time. Today, the physician who refuses to share with the world his knowledge of a discovery that will benefit mankind suffers social and professional ostracism. THE DOOM OF THE NOSTRUM SOUNDED Today, despite "flare-ups" like Fried man's tuberculosis turtle cure and enthu siasms like "twilight slumber," the ex ploiting of specific remedies is on the decline. The vogue of the Wards and the Whitworths has passed away. Standards of regulation of the purity of drugs, rigidly enforced ethical codes among physicians, prescribed and stand ardized formulas in national "pharma copoeias" or formularies, and, most of all, campaigns in magazines, both lay and medical, to instruct the people in public health and sanitation, especially in the United States, have sounded the doom of the nostrum and the cure-all. No more are outlaw remedies made legitimate and admitted to the Pharmacopceia, for the prescribing of drugs is being put on a rational basis and the explanation of the reason why medicines produce certain ef fects is becoming more and more of an exact science. The magical lure of an cient pharmacy has departed. There are today no secrets in medicine, and the physician who makes a discovery that will benefit the human race must either share it with his fellows or suffer social and professional ostracism.