Punch,  46 (1864), 39.

Quackery Crying Out



News-Commentary, Drollery


Quackery, Patents, Language, Medical Treatment, Medical Practitioners, Government, Politics, Public Health

    Discusses a letter in the Daily Telegraph from a quack who, evidently alarmed by the prospect of a new clause in the 'New Medical Bill' depriving quacks of property rights to their 'notorious' specifics, upholds the virtues of patent medicines over 'violent remedies' and questions why so many different remedies are needed for 'the one simple object—the correction of the stomach and intestines'. Punch defends the use of a multiplicity of medicines, pointing out that different digestive and other organs of the body need different remedies. Proceeds to discuss the quack's claim that the new legislation reflects the shortcomings of, and the necessity for abolishing, the 'gigantic medical monopoly', and underlines the need to stop fettering those 'who do understand the theory of cause and effect' and understand their remedies. Surmising that the latter is a self-reference, Punch contrasts the rigorous scientific training undertaken by 'regularly educated physicians' to the training in the 'practice of puffery' undertaken by quacks. Concludes by pointing out that medical practitioners 'are constituted guardians of the public health by Act of Parliament' and that when patent medicines are abolished, patients can turn to 'a respectable practitioner' and receive proper treatment.

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