The Great American Fraud

The Great American Fraud

by Samuel Hopkins Adams

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This is the introductory article to a series which will contain a full explanation and exposure of patent-medicine methods, and the harm done to the public by this industry, founded mainly on fraud and poison. Results of the publicity given to these methods can already be seen in the steps recently taken by the National Government, some State Governments and a few of the more reputable newspapers. The object of the series is to make the situation so familiar and thoroughly understood that there will be a speedy end to the worst aspects of the evil.
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Gullible America will spend this year some seventy-five millions of dollars in the purchase of patent medicines. In consideration of this sum it will swallow huge quantities of alcohol, an appalling amount of opiates and narcotics, a wide assortment of varied drugs ranging from powerful and dangerous heart depressants to insidious liver stimulants; and, far in excess of all other ingredients, undiluted fraud. For fraud, exploited by the skillfulest of advertising bunco men, is the basis of the trade. Should the newspapers, the magazines and the medical journals refuse their pages to this class of advertisements, the patent-medicine business in five years would be as scandalously historic as the South Sea Bubble, and the nation would be the richer not only in lives and money, but in drunkards and drug-fiends saved.
"Don't make the mistake of lumping all proprietary medicines in one indiscriminate denunciation," came warning from all sides when this series was announced. But the honest attempt to separate the sheep from the goats develops a lamentable lack of qualified candidates for the sheepfold. External remedies there may be which are at once honest in their claims and effective for their purposes; they are not to be found among the much-advertised ointments or applications which fill the public prints.
Cuticura may be a useful preparation, but in extravagance of advertising it rivals the most clamorous cure-all. Pond's Extract, one would naturally suppose, could afford to restrict itself to decent methods, but in the recent [004]epidemic scare in New York it traded on the public alarm by putting forth "display" advertisements headed, in heavy black type, "Meningitis," a disease in which witch-hazel is about as effective as molasses. This is fairly comparable to Peruna's ghoulish exploitation, for profit, of the yellow-fever scourge in New Orleans, aided by various southern newspapers of standing, which published as news an "interview" with Dr. Hartman, president of the Peruna Company.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940148846093
Publisher: Lost Leaf Publications
Publication date: 01/02/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 242 KB

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