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The shipping of medicines from London ended with the Revolutionary War. The American manufacturers of medicines were the first business entrepreneurs to seek national markets through widespread advertising. These medicines could be purchased in modest quantities from physicians, apothecaries, grocers, postmasters, and printers. One can find advertisements for these elixirs in every form of printed news and entertainment publications.
It is easy to see how quickly these “medications’ grew from the following accounts: A New York catalog listed some ninety brands of elixirs in 1804 and by 1857; a Boston periodical included almost 600 and in 1858; and one newspaper account totaled over 1,500 patent medicines. By 1905 the list grew to more than 28,000. One can assume that these “remedies” were used at a level bound to have been leading to some opiate addiction in America. One must remember that in these times there were no government regulations on any of these addictive opiate concoctions1.