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PROFIT BY MEDICINES.
quoted, and the nearly fatal mistake of sending extract of belladonna, instead of Plummer's pill, to the late Dr. Flood, will be long remembered by the profession. 2nd. The practice of charging for medicines he himself orders, offers temptation to the dishonest (who disgrace every profession, and from which the pharmaceutical cannot be free) to give inordinate quantities, or even such as may protract recovery. However, the public has come to like the drugging system, and phials will be objected to if not filled, and draughts unless they scour four or five times, value for the money being looked for. The doctorapothecary will always select as consultant one who reciprocates by ordering medicines plentifully; and all must have heard of the Dublin apothecary who vowed he would never call in a physician who for each visit did not at least“ put a leg of mutton in his pot.” Many of the Dublin general practitioners now send in at the end of the year a biil for a certain sum, not specifying medicines in detail. A practitioner who both prescribes and supplies medicines may overdose, and there is no one to prevent or discover the mistake; on the contrary, the supervision of the physician's prescription by the dispenser affords a most wholesome check, and thoroughly secures public safety. 3rd. It tends to deteriorate the science of pharmaceutical chemistry, than which none of greater importance to the human race exists. It is manifest that if engaged in utterly extraneous pursuits, the apothecary can find no time to investigate the properties, combinations, and preparation of medicines. 4th. The training which the apothecary (who has no other qualification) undergoes in fulfilling the curriculum prescribed, and passing the examination, is insufficient for one who is to treat disease in all its intricate forms, and in this way the practice brings discredit on medicine, and is likewise full of danger to the public. Up to 1827 a certificate of having learned pharmaceutical chemistry (which was taught in the laboratory, Mary-street) and
SEPARATION OF PHARMACY.
apprenticeship were the only qualifications, but they have gradually been increased. Prof. Macartney remarked that the proper business of the apothecary has as little to do with the practice of medicine as that of the instrument-maker with operative surgery. If such be the symptoms of a very morbid state of things, the following remedy seems called for ; but it must be acknowledged that it has been again and again prescribed without, however, being administered. Pharmaciens should be incorporated by a general act as a Royal College of Pharmacy in London, Dublin, and Edinburgh, and endowed with the greatest dignity and fullest protection and power over the sale and dispensing of medicines, the two Apothecaries' Societies resigning the right or changing their title to that of Pharmacy. By resigning its licensing function the Dublin Hall would lose but £24 yearly, as thirty on the average take the licence for a fee of 16s. Many of these gentlemen are candidates for public services, and they cannot afford the College of Physicians' diploma, which costs twenty times as much. Moreover, as the school of the Apo-thecaries' Hall has been closed, no loss would be sustained in that respect. The alumni of this body should be altogether prohibited from medical practice, but both the medical practitioner, on the one hand, and grocers and huxters on the other, should be absolutely prevented from interfering with their legitimate business. Throughout the country and elsewhere, the public desiring it, there should be practitioners licensed by the Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons conjointly, who would both provide and supply medicines to their own patients only ; they should not charge for the medicines, but for the advice, and they should on no account have any further interest in drugs. The following out of many most competent and disinterested authorities examined by the parliamentary committee on education, expressed their convictions against the plan of charging for the
HETEROGENEOUS DUTIES. remedies used—Sir Astley Cooper, Sir A. Carlisle, Sir B. C. Brodie, Mr. Carmichael, Mr. Donovan, Mr. Guthrie, Drs. Farre, Birkbeck, James Johnson, and Maunsell. On this matter we might advantageously borrow a lesson from our continental neighbours, as in France, Austria, Bavaria, Sweden, &c., the pharmacien is most highly educated and closely confined to his proper duties. The salutary effect of this restriction is well known. Such members of the body as Scheele found time to accomplish more for chemistry than perhaps any other man, save Sir H. Davy, who in early life also practised as a dispenser. It was said of the famous chemist Bergmann that “ his greatest discovery was the discovering of Scheele.” He nevertheless fol. lowed the phamaceutical art in König. Of the pharmaciens in Germany, Sir R. Kane says, " The majority of the leading apothecaries whose acquaintance I was fortunate enough to make were doctors in philosophy ; in fact the apothecary is as usually the doctor in philosophy as the physician is doctor in medicine.". Dangerous medicines can be only dispensed by the head of the establishment. In some German states there is another class called Wundärzte for the performance of minor operations—bleeding or cupping; but these the pharmacien might
very well undertake. An analogous rank in Bavaria (Landärzte) has been recently abolished. The establishment, then, of a College of Pharmacy in each of the three divisions of the Empire would not only elevate this most indispensable science to a position of vastly increased usefulness, but would, by the accession of many valuable adherents, strengthen the ranks of physicians and surgeons; for as this innovation would never be retrospective, many apothecaries would elect to become practitioners. In Ireland it is especially desirable that the company should revert to its former position, and its name being changed to the Royal College of Pharmacy, that it should solely have the power
of licensing pharmaciens, to whom the sale of drugs should be entirely restricted. Each of its licensees should conduct establishments, just as the present establishment in Mary-street is conducted. There, medi. cines prepared under the superintendence of one of the ablest chemists in Ireland, are sold wholesale and retail-no other business is transacted. Unless the education and examination in pharmacy be made more extensive for surgical and medical licences, I would not advocate the practising of pharmacy by such licentiates, and the sale of medicines by grocers and druggists (as at present qualified) is full of danger. All present apothecaries should be allowed to continue to act as before, or, if they desired it, to choose between the practice of pharmacy or that of medicine, or to postpone their selection for five years. Indeed it would almost pecuniarily serve those now so engaged, as no new-comers being admitted, and as the public would for some years continue to support this system, a monopoly would be established for such practitioners now registered under the Medical Act. No injustice was done to the existing Landärzte when the Bavarian government abolished that order for new-comers. The directors and licentiates of the Apothecaries' Hall comprise so many highminded and public-spirited gentlemen, that there is no doubt, if the advantages of amalgamating the profession and separating drug-dealing from it were clearly demon. strated, they would be amongst the most earnest advocates of the reform.
If a supply of men to undertake the duties of pharmaciens cannot be had because they ambition medical practice, let the art of the apothecary be handed over to females, who, while they are by nature unfitted for medical or surgical practice, are in every way suited for the manipulative art of dispensing. In many of the French hospitals and dispensaries, the dispensers are females, and nothing can exceed their accuracy and neatness.
But the following example should not be adopted. In a small western country town, the widow of an apothecary still conducts the business, and doctors all kinds of disorders.
MEDICAL SOCIETIES. The advantages of medical societies are numerous, and some of them were forcibly expressed by the illustrious President of the Surgical Society of Ireland at the last opening meeting : “Such societies, let me observe, are useful and necessary, because men, however great their learning, are apt to become indolent and indifferent to improvement for want of associating with others of similar talents and acquirements," and again, in discussing the modes of illustration and proof, he said, “ How different must be the influence on the public mind of a case so supported and brought forward, and how superior must this influence be over that produced by the relation of a similar case when it is reported on the single authority of an individual however trustworthy." The acknowledgment of errors, to which the most perfect are liable, should be a distinguishing feature of learned societies. This was forcibly inculcated by Celsus, who may be translated as follows: "Little geniuses, self-conscious that they have nothing to spare, cannot bear the least diminution of their prerogative, or depart from any opinion they have embraced, however false and pernicious; while the man of true ability is ready to frankly acknowledge his errors, and especially in a profession where it is important to posterity that the truth should be recorded." The accurate and definite reports of law cases might be well imitated by medical report
If commissions were struck to investigate special subjects brought forward by members, or suggested by the council at the beginning of the session, great advantage would accrue.
In all large schools, students' societies should be