Honesty Is the Best Medicine

Happy Independence Day weekend! This is the most important holiday to MedShadow because we celebrate our ongoing independence from pharmaceutical influence. 

We are one of the few, free, nonprofit sites that refuses pharma money because we are committed to giving you the unbiased, honest facts of health that you need to keep yourself and your family safer from medical harm. 

Misleading information, even lies, from drug companies is nothing new and a reality across our nation’s history. In the winter of 1905, Mark Twain himself sent the world’s most eloquent angry letter to a drug company selling bogus patent medicine by mail. We call it “May You Take A Dose of Your Own Poison.” Please read it below, but first, allow me to frame his artful defense in today’s terms: 

Right now, side effects from drugs are a very real, personal, and underreported epidemic. Vitamins and supplements are grossly unregulated and widely available. We are overprescribed and underserved. What we know about medicines comes mostly from a very powerful, profitable pharmaceutical industry. 

The truth can be hard to come by, and when it’s about your health, it hurts. In a digital age when misinformation and advertising influence are fast and far-reaching, MedShadow out researches conspiracy theorists and calls on expert critical thinkers. 

We counter bogus or biased medicine claims and reach millions of readers, everywhere, everyday, with thousands of helpful, evidence-based articles. 

Thank you for supporting MedShadow’s member-supported nonprofit mission to protect and positively impact your health. Because our CEO and founder is committed to covering all of the foundation’s administrative expenses, your donation today–or as a small monthly contribution–will all go directly, 100% to our programs: to fund our independent writers, researchers, and community builders to keep you connected to the most up-to-date information and guidance on drug side effects and great alternatives to using medications.



Recently widowed, and terribly ill himself, a grieving and infuriated Twain was responding to the boastful pamphlet he’d received on J.H. Todd’s “Elixir of Life” medicine, which falsely claimed it would cure such infectious diseases as meningitis and diphtheria, which had heartbreakingly killed Twain’s son at 18 months and his daughter at 24 years old. 

May You Take A Dose of Your Own Poison” 

“Dear Sir, Your letter is an insoluble puzzle to me. The handwriting is good and exhibits considerable character, and there are even traces of intelligence in what you say, yet the letter and the accompanying advertisements profess to be the work of the same hand. The person who wrote the advertisements is without doubt the most ignorant person now alive on the planet; also without doubt he is an idiot, an idiot of the 33rd degree, and scion of an ancestral procession of idiots stretching back to the Missing Link. 

It puzzles me to make out how the same hand could have constructed your letter and your advertisements. Puzzles fret me, puzzles annoy me, puzzles exasperate me; and always, for a moment, they arouse in me an unkind state of mind toward the person who has puzzled me. A few moments from now my resentment will have faded and passed and I shall probably even be praying for you; but while there is yet time I hasten to wish that you may take a dose of your own poison by mistake, and enter swiftly into the damnation which you and all other patent medicine assassins have so remorselessly earned and do so richly deserve. Adieu, adieu, adieu!” — Mark Twain

We agree. Happy Independence Day, from all of us at MedShadow Foundation. Please celebrate your health freedom by becoming a supporter and member today. 

Suzanne B. Robotti

Suzanne Robotti founded MedShadow Foundation in 2012. Learn more about Su and her mission.

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