23 DECEMBER 1960, Page 11


SIR,—On September 2 you published a paragraph about the announcement of 'Super penicillin' (Cel- benin) in highly critical terms.

A critical approach to this, as to all matters, is desirable but should be correctly informed. Since Celbenin has not yet stood the test of time your low opinion of it is perhaps arguable, but your general rejection of the advances of the 'Drug Era' is not. It is factually incorrect for you to say that dangerous reactions to penicillin often occur; they do occur but are very rare and penicillin is one of the safest drugs known. It is a fact also that the outcome in tuberculosis, syphilis and leprosy—to name three of the most dangerous diseases through- out the world—has been transformed by chemo- therapyl It is a fact, also, that immense saving of life, limb and chronic invalidism has resulted from the use of 'Wonder Drugs' and that this is still a daily, hourly occurrence. Any doctor who has been in practice for twenty years knows how the scene has changed as a result of the antibiotics. These are not questions of opinion, but are facts which every doctor knows.

If, in the face of these facts, you wish to hold the view that 'the day of the wonder drug has passed,' your attitude is difficult to understand.—Yours faith- fully, MD (Name and address supplied) [This letter is referred to in a leading article.— Editor, Spectator.]