This was the first offensive against miracle drugs and shows that the patient cannot defend himself alone

This was the first offensive against miracle drugs and shows that the patient cannot defend himself alone

Traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy and many other products resulting from pseudoscience have been and continue to be consumed by millions of people. However, there is a little difference between the then and the now .

Before, apart from the good judgment of the user or his hunches and intuitions, there was nothing else between the ignorance or the bad of the prescriber. Now, at least there are controls that tell us what is medicine and what, alternative medicine (yes, alternative medicine that tests its operation simply becomes medicine).

Food and Drug Law

In 1906, Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle described the unethical practices of the meat industry to encourage demands for comprehensive reform of the industry.

Also at this time, there were several figures, among which the doctor Harvey Washington Wiley stands out , they pressed for the approval of legislation that had been stopped for some time in the United States Congress by which basic rules of labeling could be imposed on food and in medications.

By then, President Theodore Roosevelt had joined the campaign, so that same year the Food and Drug Act was passed. As Tim Wu explains in his book Attention Traders :

Rather than banning miracle drugs or their advertising, it imposed a "true labeling" requirement that made "mislabeling" illegal and also required that any "dangerous" ingredient be warned. As understood by the Government, this measure made any false promise of possible therapeutic benefits illegal.

The miracle elixirs began to recede , such as the famous snake oil that served to cure almost everything. Also, to be fair, these scams died of their own success: for centuries they had been driven on the fringes, but within a few decades they had grown into big companies advertising themselves in the newspapers insistently.

Something similar to what has also happened to homeopathy: its decline is based on the argument "big pharmaceutical blah-blah" when, at the same time, a large pharmaceutical like Boiron was generating huge profits with homeopathy.

Wu tells us about how snake oil barely survived another year, until in 1916, a Rhode Island prosecutor acting on behalf of the Bureau of Chemistry charged its creator, Clark Stanley , with violating the Food and Drug Administration Act. Medicines:

The office analyzed a sample of the snake oil and found that it was made from "a light mineral oil (derived from petroleum) mixed with about 1% fatty oil (probably beef fat), chili pepper and possibly traces of camphor and turpentine ". The Government declared that snake oil "was presented … falsely and fraudulently as a remedy for all aches and pains … when, in fact, it was not.