More douche, more confidence
This makes me laugh every time I watch it!!!
How appropriate that, today, Massengill is just the name of a brand of douche.
The S.E. Massengill company originally made all sorts of medicines, from 1898 to 1937.
In 1937, the company’s head chemist (Harold Watkins) was working on a liquid form of the wonder drug, Sulfanilamide. It wouldn’t dissolve in the usual liquids used for the purpose (like alcohol), but it would dissolve beautifully in Diethylene Glycol (DEG)…otherwise known as common antifreeze.
How Watkins, as a head chemist & pharmacist, could possibly have been ignorant of the fact that DEG was deadly poisonous, is unbelievable. As is the fact that, at the time, Food & Drug laws did not require products to be tested for safety & efficacy before selling them.
Watkins added raspberry flavouring, called it “Elixir Sulfanilamide”, and distributed hundreds of large bottles to pharmacies & doctors’ offices, across the USA. Within one month of that first batch being released, there were reports of people (including small children) dying in agony of renal failure, as their parents dosed them with more of the wonder medicine that they thought would save them.
It was an absolutely nightmarish situation, as government agents tried desperately to account for every drop of the Elixir that was sold. Some doctors & pharmacists had dispensed it without a prescription, and others even falsified their records and topped up their master-bottles with water, to try to hide the fact that they’d dispensed any of it.
When it finally came to trial, the Massengill company got off with a minimal fine, because the only thing it could be charged with was false-labelling. Under the law, for something to be called an “elixir”, it had to be alcohol-based. And Elixir Sulfanilamide was antifreeze-based.
Watkins was never prosecuted. He committed suicide before the trial. The Massengill company completely washed its hands of any responsibility for the mass-poisoning, saying, “We have been supplying a legitimate professional demand and not once
could have foreseen the unlooked-for results. I do not feel that there
was any responsibility on our part.”
The resulting public outcry finally got lawmakers to take their fingers out and pass strict Food, Drug, and Cosmetics laws that could actually protect the public from douchebags like Watkins and Massengill.
How appropriate that, today, when you hear the name “Massengill”, you think of a douche.
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