Views & Reviews Drug Tales and Other Stories


BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 19 June 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e4245
  1. Robin Ferner, director, West Midlands Centre for Adverse Drug Reactions, Birmingham City Hospital, Birmingham B18 7QH, UK
  1. R.E.Ferner{at}

The Roman naturalist Pliny was not entirely reliable, but even he allowed doubt to creep into his wilder statements. “[They say] the Elephants bloud is exceeding cold, and therefore the dragons be wonderfull desirous thereof to refresh and coole themselves therewith, during the parching and hote season of the yeere.”1 We look forward to the hot season, sunbathing, and swimsuits. Pliny had further advice on how to look one’s best: “Bats bloud hath a depilatorie facultie to fetch off haire.” He failed to comment on efficacy or safety, or …

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