Pharmacologists speak of the effects of drugs and the actions of drugs as one and the same thing and tell us that the duration of action of a drug depends in part on the extent to which it becomes localized in various tissues, but they have no means of knowing in most cases what the drug concentration in an organ amounts to. They know only that to occasion its characteristic effect, a drug must gain access to the tissues of the body in sufficient concentration to cause the tissue to resist and expel it by appreciable action.

If it is administered orally, the drug must first be absorbed from the intestinal tract and carried by the blood stream to the various tissues of the body. When administered by injection, drugs have to be picked up by the blood at the site of injection and carried throughout the body. When a poison is brought into contact with the living tissues of the body, by medium of the circulation, each tissue acts to resist and expel it, thus giving rise to what are mistaken for the many side actions of drugs.

When a pharmacologist lists the effects of a drug, he lists the symptomatology and pathology of an iatrogenic disease. This is not only true when he lists what he classifies as side effects and toxic effects, but it is equally true when he lists what he calls physiological and therapeutic effects. What physicians mean by iatrogenic diseases are such things as hepatitis, phlebitis, asthma, aplastic anemia, leukemia, cataract, cancer, etc.; but these are simply more or less localized symptomatologies and pathologies growing out of a systemic poisoning. They by no means represent all of the symptoms and pathology that result from the poisoning.

Thus, however administered, drugs come in contact with the tissues generally; consequently, all talk of "sites of action," "target organ," "target site," "tissue distribution," "reactive site," and other such expressions are but jibberish by which the technical mind combs the wool of illusion, first, over its own eyes and, then, over the eyes of others.

The great number and complexity of differentiated structures in the human organism, each possessed of its own particular behavior pattern, makes possible a great number and variety of actions as the poison, circulated by the blood, comes in contact with the body's different tissues. It is the complexity of human structure that makes possible the many and varied types of action that have been mistakenly credited to drugs, which possess none of the structural complexity upon which must rest so many different activities. It is this great complexity of structure and the resulting diversity of actions that makes possible the many alleged side actions of drugs.

Pharmacologists say that "the duration of action of a drug depends in part on the extent to which it becomes localized in various tissues." This statement might have some validity if it could first be proved that the drugs have any action. But it is more correct to say that the duration of action of the body in resisting and expelling the drug depends in part on the extent to which it becomes localized in various tissues. And, living tissues, by virtue of their own inherent power to do so, resist all chemical actions and reactions with chemical substances that may be taken in. So long as they are alive, they continue to resist. Only when they are no longer alive can chemical unions occur. We do not dispute that lifeless matter can act chemically and mechanically. Our position is simply this, and has been from the time Trall first stated it: in the relations between lifeless matter and the living organism, the living organism is the actor.

We explain the alleged actions of drugs by saying that they are actions of the body. When a drug is expelled through the kidneys by diuresis, it is misbranded a diuretic. It is wrongly said to act on the kidneys, when the opposite is the truth. Diuresis is kidney action in expelling the drug.

The effects of their drugs may be choleresis, emesis, diarrhea, diaphoresis, diuresis, expectoration, tonicity or feverishness, antiphlogistication, etc.; but how are these effects explained? How do you explain a diarrhea, except in terms of bowel action? How do you explain diaphoresis, except in terms of sweating? Do the various drugs act, as we are taught, on these various structures, to produce these effects, or do the structures act on the drugs to expel them? Is the stomach a "receptor site" for a so-called emetic and the bowels a "receptor site" for a so-called cathartic? Is it reception or expulsion that we witness? Is it drug action or vital action that is observed?

Pharmacologists ascribe the so-called action of a drug to its selective affinity; Hygienists admit the selection, but insist that it is the living organism and not the lifeless drug that makes the selection. If it be asked: what difference does it make which acts and which is acted upon, we reply: no truth can be insignificant to the scientist. Rather, it is true that to be exact and observing, and correct in describing what we have observed, is the all-important quality of the scientific mind, which well knows that mighty consequences often hang upon apparently insignificant trivia.

"Drugs have a modus operandi," it was frequently asserted; "and whether the system acts on them, or they on the system, what's the odds?"was frequently asked. We can only marvel at such reasoning: as though ignorance can be just as valuable as knowledge: as though it makes no difference to our conduct whether we recognize that the man eats the potato and not that the potato eats the man: whether it makes no difference that it is the living organism that appropriates and rejects things in or from its environment, or these appropriate andreject the living organism. To us, the subject is all important; the progress, the very salvation of the human race is involved in it. Unless we start right, we travel forever in the wrong direction. On the contrary, if our first premises are correct, we are on the right road.

When a man acknowledges the principle and then asks: "Of what practical use can it be?" he evinces a lack of sagacity which can be excused only by crediting to him inferior powers of observation. To know that a certain fact, theory or proposition is true, is sufficient in itself to commend it to our consideration. Does it make any difference whether the cathartic acts on the bowels or the bowels act on the drug, so long as a copious bowel movement results? The difference is precisely that between good and evil. Does it make no difference in a case of gangrenous limb, whether the gangrenous portion casts off the body or the body sloughs off the gangrenous portion? In teaching physiology, does it make no difference whether the muscles move the bones or the bones move the muscles, whether we say the stomach digests the food, or the food digests the stomach?