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A REVIEW OF PHARMACY DURING THE
In looking back over the events of the past year, the most striki.g are the publication of the British Pharmacopoeia, which has brought out a large number of criticisms and suggestions ; the organization of a new association of retail druggists in the U. S. ; the improvement in the condition of naval apothecaries, brought about by the action of the A. Ph.A. ; and nearer home, the attempt to modify the Quebec Pharmacy Act, in which department stores and grocers joined hands.
THE BRITISH PHARMACOPEIA, 1898. The Pharmacopeia Committee in publishing this work adopted a few modern ideas, but in one at least the adoption was only half-hearted, that is the metric system, which is now used side by side with the imperial system in all the preparations, while it is the only one utilized in the paragraphs on testing. We suppose that the committee was actuated by motives of prudence, that with the conservatism so characteristic of English methods it was feared that the total adoption of the decimal system would be too great a shock; and, perhaps the committee was right in so doing. The adoption of assay methods for a number of preparations was a step in the right direction, although it is also a little short. Several others should have been included with belladonna, cinchona, ipecacuanha, nux vomica and opium, for instance, strophanthus, a most important drug, stramonium, coca, hyoscyamus and others. Several drug friends of our youth have been cast into oblivion and replaced by new comers, with advantage.
Of the preparations, it would appear that the book was published more for the benefit of prescribers than of dispensers. The innovations introduced in the strengths for the purpose of uniformity of doses has produced no end of changes in the proportion for tinctures and solid extracts particularly, while the processes for extracts, liquid extracts, syrups and tinctures in many instances leave much to be desired. The new concentrated liquors, as a rule, are anything but satisfactory from the pharmacist's point of view, both as regards the methods of preparation and keeping qualities ; the former we find cumbersome and wasteful, and as for the latter, within a short while after being made, a heavy sediment forms in almost all of them.
The greatest improvement, however, has been in the description of the tests and characters of the drugs and chemicals, which are brought fully up to date, the greatest complaint being that several of them demand greater purity in the chemicals than is obtainable unless much higher prices are paid for the goods. Several criticism of this part of the work have been published in the English journals by
whose business it is to study drugs. The first is that too many people endeavor to diagnose their own troubles from the patent medicine advertisement and fly to the medicine whether it is suited or not to their complaint. And the other good reason is the companion of the first, in that the general public and
the average grocer are not acquainted with the composition of the medicines bought and sold. of them contain active drugs and chemicals, which should never be prescribed except by a physician acquainted with the idiosyncracies of the patient, e.g., strychnine and morphine. As an illustration of the danger attending an unre. stricted sale of patent medicines, I may mention the case of a “kidney" preparation that had a run some years ago. It was a harsh “cheap” preparation of saltpetre, selling at a dollar a bottle, and unquestionably did much harm. Its composition was exposed in the drug journals. Another more recent case was that of a "fattening” preparation, which consisted of glucose alone. By the efforts of the American druggists its sale was suppressed by the United States courts.
But you are probably not aware that the movement for the unrestricted sale of patent medicines in this province has behind it the further demand of the unrestricted sale of all drugs whatsoever. And if the legislative sanction is given in the one case on the ground that everybody is competent to judge of patent medicines, it is difficult to see how it can be refused in the other case. It might, of course, be necessary to supplement such legislation by introducing brief courses on materia medica and pharmacy into the elementary and intermediate schools of the province. These courses, in addition to the chemistry already taught, would doubtless soon render it unnecessary to have any drug stores other than those which could be set up in the corner of every grocery. But if, on the other hand, it is recognized that the specializing tendency of the age works in the direction of greater competence, skill and economy of the general effort, it might be better to give (as is increasingly the fact in France, Belgium and Germany) the druggists the chance to live and to develop their work to a higher position.
J. C. SUTHERLAND. Richmond, December 27th, 1898.
One notable exception is La liner ve, which in its issue of Jany. 21st devoted two columns to an able statement of the reasons why the amendments should not be adopted.
When the preliminary notice was sent out some years ago, Indian and colonial, pharmaceutical and medical societies were asked to make suggestions with regard to the publication of an addendum for the colonies. In almost every case the request was complied with, except from Canada. Recently the committee has issued a draft of the addendum and again requests suggestions; we hope it is not too late for Canadian societies to take a hand in the work.
the remnant of one existing as the commercial section of the A. Ph. A., and the other, the Interstate League, has been practically dead for some years past. With these examples before them the officers of the new organization can steer clear of the rocks and shoals which wrecked their predecessors, and the adoption of the delegate plan of organization shows that they appreciate one of the greatest causes of the the previous wrecks. An organization nominally founded for the benefit of retail druggists, The Universal Trade Association, which cut a wide swathe some years ago, but which was denounced as fraud, still continues in existence, but only in the courts, or rather in lawyers' offices, as by means of letters they threaten druggists, who were foolish enough to sign agreements with this organization, to sue if their subscriptions are not paid up.
THE B. P. C. CONFERENCE. This year's meeting was held in Belfast, and was most successful. The majority of the papers presented were on subjects suggested by the new B.P., which came in for a good share of criticism.
THE A. ph. A. MEETING. The meeting this year was at Baltimore and was one of the most successful in the history of the association, both from the number and value of the papers read, the attendance and the entertainment features. The weather was abnormally hot, but otherwise the meeting was a success.
SOCIETIES OF RETAIL DRUGGISTS. Shortly after the close of the Baltimore meeting a representative assembly of western pharmacists was called to meet at Omaha, at which it was resolved to form a society exclusively of retailers Officers were elected, a constitution was adopted, and it resolved to meet again in St. Louis in January. In the meantime, however, notices were sent out by the Chicago Apothecaries Society calling a meeting of delegates of the various local bodies throughout the States to meet at St. Louis during the meeting of the N.W.D.A. and the P.A. A large number of societies sent delegates and the National Association of Retail Druggists was organized with Henry Hynson, of Baltimore, as president. Conferences with the wholesalers and proprietors were held, at which the retailers told their grievances and made demands for more honest treatment from the proprietors. The meetings were successful and the officers have been encouraged to push on the work of organization, till now it appears that the efforts will be successful. If the new organization be a success, and we sincerely hope it will, the druggists of the U.S. will be the gainers. But, there have been two similar organizations already in existence,
What effect the organization and success of the N. A. R. D. may have on Canadian pharmacy is, at this early stage, difficult to predict, but we think there can be little doubt that it will be a good one, both by example, and by results on the methods of proprietary manufacturers in dealing with cutters.
The experiment will be watched with great interest by pharmacists on this side of the line.
IMPROVEMENT IN THE STATUS OF NAVAL
It is only in the English and American services that so little attention is paid to the pharmacal branch. In the military and naval services of all the continental powers and also in that of Japan, the pharmacist is an officer,•ranking from lieutenant to lieutenant-colonel, according to ability and time of service, but in all probability it will be many years before we see this plan followed in the English army
The Americans have made a start in the proper direction by granting warrant rank to twentyfive naval apothecaries with pay ranging from $700 per annum while on shore duty to $1,800, and a strenuous effort will be made to extend the same to the hospital stewards. The projected great increase in the strength of the American army will give a chance for pharmacal reformers to insist on changes in the standing of the army dispensers and also for a great increase in numbers.
This, of course, is only of general interest to Canadian pharmacists, but it may be mentioned that several of the dispensers on American warships are Canadians, so that the matter is of more importance than at first sight. Mr. Thomson, dispenser at the Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., is an old Quebecker, who has been over twenty-five years afloat, and has dispensed medicines for Uncle Sam's sailors in every ciime under the sun, and there are several others from this side of the line.
Of these the crop has been greater than ever, but
of the thousands discovered and introduced probably Association, which will be effective in legislative not half a dozen will prove of any permanent value. work. During the year the patent on antipyrin expired and
ADVANCES IN CHEMICAL SCIENCE. with it came a great drop in the price, which is now
In the line of research work in organic chemistry, less than a quarter of the former price. Phenacetin
the German are, as usual, accumulating facts bringstill continues in favor with both physicians and smug
ing us nearer to a clearer conception of the constituglers. Every once in a while one of the latter gets
tion of alkaloids, volatile oils, and other organic caught trying to defraud the American customs, but
compounds. In inorganic chemistry, Ramsay has the U. S. patentee is still as active as ever in de
augmented the number of known atmospheric confence of the monopoly he has under the iniquitous stituents, by his discoveries of krypton, neon, and copyright and patent laws. Among new remedies
metargon. Brush, of Cincinnati, has also added anwhich have come into considerable use during the
other element which he calls etherion, and which past year, although introduced previous to this, are
may possibly be the ether of philosophers. Crooke, orthol, orthoform, protargol, argonin and ferratin.
in continuing his researches on the rare earth, has PHARMACY LAWS.
separated an element for which he proposes the Pharmacy laws have been subjected to consider name Monium, the atomic weight of which he able criticism and changes. In France the old law states, is about 118. dating back to the early days of the great Revolution
THE DEATH ROLL OF THE YEAR. has been under discussion and a new law introduced,
The hand of death has been busy among the one provision of which wipes out the distinction be
ranks of scientists during the past year, the roll of tween pharmacien de premiere classe and seconde
those who have at last solved the great mystery of classe, so that in future all will be on the same footing.
life and whose names stood high in the annals of
science is probably greater than for many years In England, the Pharmacy Act Amendment Bill became law. It likewise does away to a certain ex
past. One of the first was Sir Richard Quain,
President of the General Medical Council, who tent with the grades of chemist and druggist and pharmaceutical chemist, in so far that the members
had been prominently connected with the publica
tion of the British Pharmacopæia since the first issue of the former class can now become members of the Pharmaceutical Society and will have all the privi
of 1867. He died early in March at the age of 82.
Sir Henry Bessemer died on March 15th, aged leges of the latter.
86, full of honors and wealth. Another bill introduced was the Poisonous Sub
Bessemer's invention stances Bill, which was intended to put greater re
of the process for making steel, known by his name, strictions on the sale of poisons. It did not become
has probably more influence on the advance of
civilization than any other invention of the age, not law, as such opposition was shown that the government, despairing of passing the Bill, withdrew it for
even excepting the telephone, for by it it has be
come possible to gridiron the world with railroads, this session. In Canada, the attempt made by certain cutters
which could hardly have been done with steel rails
at their former price. and department stores to alter the Quebec law was unsuccessful, although it was a very close shave.
George Dragendorf, the great teacher of pharmaWe have already referred editorially to this so that
cal chemistry, and rector of the Pharmaceutical In
stitute at Dorpat till a few years ago, was one whose there is no need to again refer to it. In Ontario the amendments to the Pharmacy Act
place in pharmacy will be difficult to fill.
Baron Playfair, noted as a chemist and authority, were beneficial to pharmacists, but here again, if it
also died during the past year. had not been for the watchfulness of some of the Toronto pharmacists, the
Dr. E. J. DeVrij, the eminent quinologist and
changes would have amounted to nothing.
Hanbury medalist, passed away after an active and In Quebec several prosecutions were undertaken
useful life spent in the work of utilizing to their full
est extent the great medicinal properties of the against department stores and grocers for contraven
cinchonas. tion of the Pharmacy Act, and judgments were ren
In Canada we have had to deplore the loss of Jno. E. dered in favor of the Association,
Burke, a former well-known druggist of Quebec, but An important step was taken by the Quebec Association when the matter of the sale of patents, and
who retired several years ago, and Dr. J. D. Kelprojected amendments to the Pharmacy Act, was
lock, of Perth, and Hugh Miller, of Toronto, one of
the oldest druggists in the country. brought before the College of Physicians and Surgeons and their aid requested in blocking any pro
COMMERCIAL AND FINANCIAL. posed amendments. The acquiescence of the Col During the past year business was good and the lege brings a powerful ally to the Pharmaceutical opinion is general that we haye at last entered upon
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