"Several years" have passed since the Sumerian medical tablet now in Philadelphia gave up its secrets on the preparation of medicines, often produced using sophisticated and ingenious methods.
Over the centuries that followed, progress in the treatment of ailments led to the discovery of medicines that have radically improved life expectation, but the history of medicine has not been without failures, some of which have been accompanied by a good dose of bad faith. One such example is the charlatans, people who, equipped with all sorts of wares, would climb on a bench wherever a group of people had gathered and dispense remedies for the most common ailments and sicknesses. Another instance is illustrious individuals and professors who, from the end of the nineteenth century, did not hesitate to publicise, often under their own name, medicines whose effectiveness is well open to debate. And a third example, in more modern times, are highly praised "opinion leaders", who have contributed to the diffusion of useless medicines, some even harmful.
Of course medicine is also a history of extraordinary successes, such as antibiotics, analgesics, vaccines, anti-psychotics, anaesthetics, new oncological drugs, etc., which have enabled pathologies – which used to be considered incurable – to be slowed and in many cases wiped out. This, more than any other, is the argument behind the writing of this book.
- Leonardo Colapinto, is the Presidente Emeritus and member of the Nobile Collegio Chimico Farmaceutico Romano, and a lecturer in the History of Medicine at La Sapienza University in Rome
- Antonino Annetta, the owner of a pharmacy in Rome and a specialist in pharmacology, is also a member of the Nobile Collegio and the Accademia Romana di Storia della Farmacia.