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Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard





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Response or Comment

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The Import Drugs Act has been relatively ignored by the academic community, and is most often relegated to a passing reference in a footnote. Yet the Act represents an important step in our nation's creation of a safe supply of drugs, and thus deserves some attention. In this paper, I give the Act that attention, and seek to place it in an historical context. In Chapter 1, I describe how Congressional action was prompted by medical conditions during the Mexican War and the belief that American soldiers were being given adulterated drugs. Chapter 2 describes the involvement of the professional health organizations in the fight against adulterated drugs, and suggests reasons why drug adulteration posed such a problem to doctors and pharmacists. In Chapter 3, I look at the legislative history of the Act, through an analysis of the House Report and the Congressional debates on the matter. Finally, in Chapter 4, I look at the mechanics of how the Act was implemented by the Customs Service, and describe its short term effects on the problem of adulterated drugs.

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