10 JULY 1941, Page 2

Quack Medicines

The Government is to be congratulated on not shrinking from producing the Pharmacy and Medicines Bill in war-time. It was debated in the House of Commons last Tuesday. Few members were impressed by the suggestions that a measure so long overdue ought not to be passed at this time, especially as the question was thoroughly examined in 1914 and 1936. The country has far too long permitted the exploitation of the fears and hopes of the more ignorant masses by the unscrupu- lous pushing of the sales of quack medicines, often advertised as panaceas for this or that class of ailment, or cures for dangerous diseases. The amount of money spent on such advertising is colossal. What is needed is the prevention not of fair publicity for articles many of which, can abundantly justify their existence and are used by the medical profession, but of the unscrupulous exploitation of ignorance. The pro- vision in the Bill that the ingredients of medicines on general sale should be disdosed is a sound one, though it would have been well to provide further that the quantities of the com- ponent parts should also be stated. There will be general approval of the absolute prohibition of the advertisement of medicines recommended as cures for a number of highly dangerous diseases. The advertisement of such supposed remedies is cruel in the extreme and must have proved dis- astrous to thousands of credulous sufferers from diseases that might have been cured by proper treatment.