A few years before the first of the Colliers articles appeared, the American Medical Association commenced a campaign against the proprietary evil that existed within the medical profession. After cleaning to a marked degree this Augean stable, the Association ex- tended its activities to the investigation of the more widely spread evil of "patent medicines" and quackery. It should be understood that in many cases there is no clear line of demarcation between what are commonly
known as "patent medicines" and the "ethical proprietaries." As has been shown time and again, it is not unusual for a nostrum first to be exploited only to the medical profession as an "ethical proprietary." After a sufficient number of testimonials have been received from unthinking physicians the promoters of the nos- trum advertise their wares direct to the public as a "patent medicine." Again, some nostrum exploiters prefer to exploit their products exclusively through the medical profession, never advertising direct to the laity. On the other hand, there have been a few cases in which nostrums have first been marketed to the public direct and later have been advertised either under the same or a different name to physicians.
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