The Patent Medicine Conspiracy Against Freedom of the Press

Mark Sullivan, The Patent Medicine Conspiracy Against Freedom of the Press. Collier’s, 4 November 1905. “In the Lower House of the Massachusetts Legislature one day last March [1905] there was a debate which lasted one whole afternoon and engaged some twenty speakers, on a bill providing that every bottle of patent medicine sold in the State should bear a label stating the contents of the bottle…. The debate at times was dramatic–a member from Salem told of a young woman of his acquaintance now in an institution for inebriates as the end of an incident which began with patent medicine dosing for a harmless ill….In short, the debate was interesting and important–the two qualities which invariably ensure to any event big headlines in the daily newspapers. But that debate was not celebrated by big headlines, nor any headlines at all…. Now why? Why was this one subject tabooed?”

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