IMPORTATION OF POWDERED DRUGS.—A few years ago a lot of rhubarb root was rejected at the New York Custom House as unfit for medicinal use. It appears that it was reshipped to Europe, powdered, and again sent to this country. It is well known how difficult it is to examine most powdered drugs and establish their purity by chemical assay or by the microscope, and it is a remarkable fact that powdered drugs which can be easily tested, particularly those containing alkaloids, are rarely if ever imported, while those the nature of which offers opportunities for sophistication or deception, are frequently sent here, often done up in packages without any clue as to the maker's name, and consigned to parties not in the drug business. Such circumstances in themselves create suspicion, and if it is remembered that in this country we have ample facilities for powdering drugs, equal to those of European countries, it must certainly be conceded that there exists no necessity for importing drugs in a pulverized condition.
An attempt recently made to import a quantity of powdered drugs, evidently sophisticated, offered a good opportunity to bring this important subject to the notice of the Treasury, the movement being aided by a number of prominent importers, druggists, pharmacists and physicians. It is to be hoped that the Treasury regulations will be so altered as to exclude all powdered drugs, unless they be of such a nature that their quality can be easily determined.