Patent Medicines Cough Sirups
Drugs and Patent Medicines
A reputable physician is solicitous regarding the permanent welfare of his patient and administers carefully chosen and harmless drugs. Mere medicine venders, however, ignore the good of mankind, and flood the market with cheap patent preparations which delude and injure those who purchase, but bring millions of dollars to those who manufacture.
Practically all of these patent, or proprietary, preparations contain a large proportion of narcotics or stimulants, and hence the benefit which they seem to afford the user is by no means genuine; examination shows that the relief brought by them is due either to a temporary deadening of sensibilities by narcotics or to a fleeting stimulation by alcohol and kindred substances.
Among the most common ailments of both young and old are coughs and colds; hence many patent cough mixtures have been manufactured and placed on the market for the consumption of a credulous public. Such "quick cures" almost invariably contain one or more narcotic drugs, and not only do not relieve the cold permanently, but occasion subsequent disorders. Even lozenges and pastilles are not free from fraud, but have a goodly proportion of narcotics, containing in some cases chloroform, morphine, and ether.
The widespread use of patent cough medicines is due largely to the fact that many persons avoid consulting a physician about so trivial an ailment as an ordinary cold, or are reluctant to pay a medical fee for what seems a slight indisposition and hence attempt to doctor themselves.
Catarrh is a very prevalent disease in America, and consequently numerous catarrh remedies have been devised, most of which contain in a disguised form the pernicious drug, cocaine. Laws have been enacted which require on the labels a declaration of the contents of the preparation, both as to the kind of drug used and the amount, and the choice of accepting or refusing such mixtures is left to the individual. But the great mass of people are ignorant of the harmful nature of drugs in general, and hence do not even read the self-accusing label, or if they do glance at it, fail to comprehend the dangerous nature of the drugs specified there. In order to safeguard the uninformed purchaser and to restrict the manufacture of harmful patent remedies, some states limit the sale of all preparations containing narcotics and thus give free rein to neither consumer nor producer.