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J R Soc Med. 2002 November; 95(11): 575.
PMCID: PMC1279273

Stevens' cure for tuberculosis

Dr Newsom (September 2002 JRSM1) refers to the BMA's Secret Remedies and More Secret Remedies, published in 1909 and 1912, but not to a reply, The Shameless Analysis of Secret Remedies by the British Medical Association' analysed and exposed by WH Box, 161 King Street, Plymouth (price twopence). Box had earlier attacked the medical profession's stance on patent medicines in a work entitled The Famous Bird That Speaks one Word (quack): in this he castigated Dr Walsh, editor of the Medical Press (London) in the language of the Old Testament and proposed an interesting and early clinical trial:

‘Bring together in the London Hospitals the 22,500 Rheumatic cripples, warped and bent with the force of the disease, and divide them between you and myself, and I will undertake to cure 20 to your 1 or you shall take my head off at the close of the test. And if you fail to cure 1 to my 20, your heads shall come off. You shall take my head off if I fail, and I will take your heads off if you fail.’

Box extended his offer to 40 000 cancer cases, 70 000 consumptives and 30 000 blind—displaying an excellent grasp of the need for large samples. The date of Box's book is not known to me, but it must be 1914 or later because it records that in that year his Pills and Golden Fire won gold medals at the Paris Exhibition.


1. Newsyom SWB. Stevens' cure: a secret remedy. J R Soc Med 2002; 95: 463-7 [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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