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What does a "quack" refer to?

A quack is someone who pretends to be a physician or who claims to have medical knowledge that he/she does not possess


What do quacks do?

Often promise quick results or painless cures for serious conditions, where they use specific devices or medicines with secret formulas.


When quack medicine popular?

In the 19th century


Why was quack medicine popular?

For several reasons:
- Traditional medicine at the time was unable to treat many illnesses, or the treatments was painful, expensive, or risky
- A lack of regulation in medical training that made it easy for people to call themselves doctors


Due to lack of regulation in medical training in the 19th century , what occured?

By the 1880s, anyone could purchase fraudulent medical degrees from one of several “diploma mills” without ever attending a day of medical school


How did quacks sell their products?

Many advertised their products in newspapers and drug stores or sold them through mail. Others travelled from town to town, selling them


What are examples of quack drugs and other drugs that had no effects or adverse effects that were sold in the 19th and 20th century?

- Lydia Pinkham's vegetable compound
- Lash Lure
- Gouraud oriental cream
- Elixir Sulfanilamide
- Koremulu
- Thalidomide


What was Lydia Pinkham's vegetable compound advertised for?

For the treatment of diseases of women


What form was Lydia Pinkham's vegetable compound sold as?

It was sold as a liquid


What were the effects of Lydia Pinkham's vegetable compound and effect?

- The liquid was practically harmless (Basically mix of different plants and their roots)
- It had no ingredients that would cure any ailment, let alone the dozen that claimed to eliminate
- It did contain alcohol though about (20%)


What was the company that made Lydia Pinkham's vegetable compound claim about the addition of alcohol?

- They claim the alcohol was added as a solvent and preservative
- It was a way for women to drink without being classified as alcoholics.


When was the "Pure food and drug act" signed?

In 1906


Who signed the "Pure food and drug act"?

The US congress


What is the pure food and drug act?

A legislation which prohibited transportation of impure contaminated food and drugs in interstate commerce and required truthful labels


What is Hamlin's Wizard oil?

A medicine that was 65% alcohol mixed with other vegetable oils and extracts that could be used topically or ingested


What did Hamlin's Wizard oil claim?

- There was no sore it couldn’t heal, no pain it wouldn’t subdue
- Claimed to cure cancer


Who fined and Why did Hamlin's wizard oil get fined?

Under the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act, the company was fined 200$ and forced to remove the claim that it cured cancer which is mainly why it was fined (untruthful/false labeling)


What are patent medicines?

A nonprescription medicinal preparation that is typically protected by a trademark and whose contents are incompletely disclosed without regards to its actual effectiveness


What was part of the problem with patent medicines?

- Part of the problem with patent medicines was that opiates and cocaine were sold over the counter to the public
- Physicians were unaware of their highly addictive nature
- In the late 1800s and early 1900s, cocaine and opium were used casually and often added to bottled medicines and beverages.


What happened to the sales of opiated patent drugs?

Use of these drugs began to decline around 1914, with the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act that regulated the sale and purchase of these drugs


What was "Lush Lure"?

A product released in early 20th century advertised as an eyelash beautifier


What was the problem with lush lure?

- It contained paraphenylenediamine (PPD), widely used at the time as a used In permanent hair colourant, an aniline dye now considered a potent allergen.
- It caused blisters, abscesses and ulcers on the face, eyelids and eyes of Lash Lure users, and in some women it caused blindness and infection with some dying due to Staphylococcus Aureus Septicaemia


What was Koremlu advertised as?

Koremlu advertised itself as a safe and permanent hair-removing cream.


What was the problem with Koremlu?

- Women lost hair all over their bodies as well as suffering from paralysis and even damage to their eyes
- This was due to thallium acetate poisoning


When was Koremlu marketed?

In 1930


What is thallium acetate used for?

Thallium was used as rat poison, but has since been banned in the U.S. due to how toxic it is even to people and animals exposed accidentally.


What happened to Koremlu?

- Women who suffered the side-effects sued the company forcing it into bankruptcy in 1932 after winning more than 2.5 million$ in damages (vs 5$ in company assets).


How much did Koremlu cost?

The price was 10$, a fortune during the 1930’s, while the cost of ingredients was 37 cents


What is Gouraud oriental cream?

A skin cream advertised as a magic beautifier


What was the problem with Gouraud oriental cream?

- Women developed dark rings around their eyes and neck, followed by bluish black gums and loose teeth
- It contained calomel (mercury chloride) and thus they got mercury poisoning from the product