Pharmaceutical Regulation Before and After the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act
INTRODUCTION: 19TH-CENTURY BACKGROUND TO DRUG REGULATION IN THE UNITED STATES Federal drug regulation in 19th-century America was a fleeting phenomenon, limited in part by a lack of both scientific capacity and sustained political exigency. Citizens stood a better chance of being safeguarded by their own states, although the legislation and enforcement varied widely in this period. By the turn of the 20th century, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, the Oklahoma territory, California, and most other states had outlawed drug adulteration and/or failure to label a medicine that had morphine, cocaine, digitalis, nux vomica, chloroform, cantharides, strychnine, ergot, or a host of other substances (1,2). Typically, violations were considered asmisdemeanors andwere penalized accordingly. But absent a federal proscription, it was all the protection a citizen might hope for.