The perils of medical deregulation

by Instant Noodle

MR. PUNCH, ANOTHER Medical Bill is about to be brought into the House of Commons by MR. HEADLAM having, of course, for its principal objects, the suppression of quackery, and the protection of the public
from unqualified practitioners. If it is likely to answer these purposes, I hope you will request LORD
PALMERSTON to support it. The consequence will be that the sale of patent medicines will be prohibited, and druggists prevented from practising across the counter.
“Any Medical Bill that does not ensure the prohibition of patent medicine-vending, and the prevention
of druggists’ counter-practice, will have the effect of protecting, against charlatans and unqualified practitioners, the health and pockets of the superior and educated classes only who are able to protect themselves. It will still leave the poor and ignorant to prescribe quack remedies for their own complaints, in equal ignorance to the nature of the former and of the latter, or to get themselves physicked by anybody who may have set up a druggist’s shop and may know no more of medicine than his pestle does.
” A secondary object of the Bill, I presume, will be the advantage of the Medical Profession itself. To this end, no doubt, it will contain a registration clause, whereby a fee of a certain amount will be fixed for registration. Now, the amount of this fee must be proportioned to the amount of good which may be expected from registration by the poor doctors on whom it is to be imposed. Appraised by that rule, it would come to about one shilling, if more than that is demanded, I trust that you will use your influence with the PREMIER to get the bill, or at least, the clause of it in question, rejected. In a former Bill it was proposed to fine every existing practitioner ten pounds tor registration, otherwise, for permission to pursue the practice of that profession which has already cost all who have entered it so much, and remunerated most of them so little. If we are all to be fined at that
rate, or anything like it, I know a professional gentleman who will have to sell his tortoise, his alligator stuffed, and all his other skins, whether of fishes, reptiles, or mammalia; whose beggarly account of empty boxes will  then be more beggarly than ever, and who will be placed under circumstances of the strongest temptation to sell strychnine, arsenic, and prussic acid on the sly without asking questions.
That professional gentleman, Sir, is
” Your humble Sen-ant,
” M.R.C.S. L.A.C.”

P.S. After all, Sir, would it not, perhaps, be as well if the Medical Profession were left to take care ot itself, and if, as in most other matters of competition, we were simply to go the whole hog of Free Trade in physic?”