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Illinois Doc Calls U.S. “Nation of Pill Swallowers”

Sept. 13, 1962 - A health commissioner said today that the United States was a “nation of pill swallowers,” that this was dangerous, and that it was the public’s own fault. “Americans are the most overmedicated people in the world,” Dr. Herbert Ratner, Commissioner of Health in Oak Park, Illinois, told the Loyola University women’s board. “Americans should learn from the recent thalidomide cases that all medication involves risks,” he said. “Therefore, the less medication needed, the better off is the patient.” Dr. Ratner is also Professor of Public Health and Clinical Medicine at Loyola. “The best physician,” he declared, “is the one who knows when to do nothing.”

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