Views & Reviews Medical Classics

Secret Remedies: What They Cost and What They Contain

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 28 April 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1624
  1. Michael Till, retired GP, Gloucester
  1. mike{at}

    Published by the BMA a century ago and priced at a shilling, Secret Remedies was a detailed scientific investigation of the contents of the quack medicines that were so popular at the beginning of the 20th century. Its timely publication coincided with changes in the law in the UK and in the US to increase the public’s awareness of the outrageous claims made for the nostrums, specifics, remedies, and even “cures.” The use of the word “cure” was very soon to be outlawed, but the book records some 15 preparations using this word in the title of the product—apart from the claims made in accompanying literature. Products were available by …

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