Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. SATURDAY, MAY 13, 1905. PATENT MEDICINES.
i The cables announcedjja few days ago that | the proprietors of patent medicines in BriI tain had decided to decline to comply with the revised regulations now in force in New Zealand, whereby they are required to deposit the formulas of their preparations with the Health Department. Tn reference to this cable Sir Joseph Ward explained that the Department now asks patent medicine proprietors to make known their formulas to the Chief Health Officer of the colony, and it is only to that official and to the Minister for Public Health that the information divulged by the patent medicine proprietors is known. The formulas are not even put on record in the ordinary way as part of the business of the Department. These conditions, however, do not satisfy the requirements of those chiefly interested in the manufacture of patent medicines, and they have decided to withdraw their preparations from sale within this colony. What they are afraid of is, of course, that the secrets they reveal to the Health Department may not be kßpt well guarded and that the formulas for preparing their specifics may leak out through the indiscretion of come unreliable official. It must be admitted that the manufacturers of patent medicines are quite justified in their fears. Clearly enough it is asking too much to expect them to put their Secret formulas in the possession of a Government Department, where, no doubt, a number of more or less responsible officials have the opportunity of becoming acquainted with the information. Under the circumstances the danger of leakage is too great, and the manufacturers are prepared to face the alternative of giving up the New Zealand market altogether. The fact that this step is forced on them is, of coarse, a misfortune for them, as it means so much the smaller sales for their specifics j but ifc is also, undoubtedly, a misfortune for the public of the colony. There are a nurabdr of well tried remedies in common everyday use whose names have become household words throughout the British Empire; their virtues have been tested by aofcual experience extending over a long period of time, and their excellence is acknowledged even by the medical profession. There are also, it is true, a number of really fraudulent preparations on the market, which are quite valueless for the purposes for which they pretend to be adapted, and a considerable quantity of these is, no doubt, annually pawned off on a confiding public. Ifc is with the object of protecting people from these latter concoctions that the new patent medioine regulations have been framed, and the Health Department is deserving of commendation for the zeal they are displaying in attempting to save the public from being imposed on But, unfortunately, the regulations they have recently adopted in connection with proprietary medicines, are destined to have iust the opposite effaat: to that intended. In this C&S9 the means dafeat the end. The regulations recently pat into force in the colony are so unsatisfactory to the manufacturers of the approved and genuine specifics, that they aro withdrawing their preparations from the New Zealand market, with the result that the field is left clear for those valueless and comparatively valueless concoction? which are known to be included among the popular remedies of the day. For the proprietors of these fraudulent preparations, having nothing much to lose by their formulas becoming known, are quite willing to run the risk of that happening in return for the profitable fiold which now seems, likely to be turned over to themselves to exploit". The public will thus be the losers by the indiscreet zeal of the Deparbment—that is, unless some system is devised that will be more acceptable to the proprietoiy medicine manufacturers as a whole. Sir ,fo3eph Ward, when interviewed in regard to the cibled announcement of the docision of the manufacturers, stated that he intended to Icok into the matter again, and it is to be hoped that the result of his inquiries will bo that some more satisfactory and workable method of protecting public interests will be evolved. That should not be veiy difficult of accomplishment.