Sunday, October 30, 2011

Wiley Helped Exclude Whisky & Brandy from Pharmacopeia

Reported in The American Journal of Clinical Medicine, vol 22, issue 8 August 1915


Too late for editorial comment in this number of Clinical Medicine comes the news that the Committee of Revision of the United States Pharmacopeia has decided, by a vote of 26 to 24, to exclude whisky and brandy from the new edition of the Pharmacopeia, now nearly complete. It is said that this action is due largely to the work of Dr. Harvey W. Wiley.

We have very little respect for alcohol as a medicine, used in any form; we know there are better stimulants, and better sedatives. But—isn't it a "drug," after all? Isn't it used habitually as a "medicine" by thousands of clean, skilful, able physicians? If so, should it not be recognized as a drug, and proper standards of strength and purity, and suitable directions regarding adulterants be provided for the protection of the physician, the guidance of the pharmacist, and the welfare of the patient?

Just what the status of whisky and brandy will be, legally, especially as regards sales by the pharmacist, we are not yet prepared to say. There will be many expressions of opinion on this subject during the next few months, and they will be given a hearing later, in these pages. Perhaps this decision on the part of the Committee of Revision may help to drive home another nail in the coffin of old Ring Alcohol. Let us hope so.

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