Fillers Endpiece

The ABC of pharmacy

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 26 January 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:212
  1. RG Hamilton1
  1. 1 Liverpool L18 3HA

    The district civil medical officer was a harmless if ignorant sort of creature at first, for if his medicines did no good, they at least did no harm. But as time went on, waxing bold with practice, he took to what he used to call “exhibiting the pharmacopoeia.” This process consisted in administering one drug after another out of the work in question till he either killed or cured. He proceeded in alphabetical order. If the drugs under the letter A produced no result, he went on to B, and then to C, and so on. That he did not kill more than he cured was due to the sharpness of his patients, who, on hearing this peculiar phrase, understood that he did not know how to treat them and refrained from taking his medicines.

    John Beams. Memoirs of a Bengal Civilian, 1896.