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Has Free Trade Given Us Cheap Quinine?

Has Free Trade Given Us Cheap Quinine? image
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Frora the Pharmaceutlcal Era. An editorial in tlie Free Press lindar date Dec. 18, 1S87, and another date Jan. 6, 1888, Imvin r a(tractel my attention, largely due to the tact of the inacuracies contained thereln, I degfre to present a few reasons and statistics for the low price of quinine. The arüeles in que-tion I read with interest as they were dt-signed to favor fice trade views in oppositiou to a protective policy, but tne itatetuutl made were widely at variance with wellknow facts, and in view ot the present Importunes of the subject deserve correctioll. Quinine, beeause of Lite general ignoruno- thiit pievails in regard to it, lias been much misrepresented. and rure badly defended, than ny other product. The present low price of quinine in place of being the result of a free trade pollcy, is most slgnally the result of a policy of government eucourajiement, successtully applied by Englaml and Holland to promote the oultivution of cinchona bark in their East ludia po98essions. Fifty years aro, tlie habitat of the cinchona plant, yielding bark of a desirable quality, was 8upposed to be qontined to the I'.icilic side of the South American Amlea, and as the demand for quinine exceeded tlie supply, the furnUbinj; of bark of a desirable quality, calfad calisnya, beeanie alinost a monopoly in llie hands of the Peruvian govefoment, :ind tlie prici of quinine advanccd at that time to $4 per ouoce, bnt the hih prlcfl combioed Ui the progress in cheinical knowlediie, led to the use of lower grades of bark froaa manv sectlons of South America, and as a result quinine declined from $4 to about $125 per oz; ihis was about forty years ago. The price iilierwanls fjradually advanced as the supply of bark deteriornted, as all vefíetable producís do wheu nature is the sole dependencc, because the botter varleties are most prolitably marketed while the poorer remain for future propigatlon. Tlie üovcrnmeuts of öreat Ui itiiin iind Holland here Dook a li nul and undertook a culttvation which luis proved wonderfully successful from the reaion that the cultivated article, produced under a government prolectlop, II marketed at less expense than the eost of overland carriafic in South America. In February, 1861, the lirst installments ol seeds arrived in Oeylon from South America. In 1869 the export was hut 23,025, of bark. It was not until 17.". tlint it u 1 upon the market as a commercial factor to the extent of 1(1,000 Ihs., and it has gradually increaged until in 1886 it reaclied the enortnous ainouU of over 15,000,000 Ibs. ]nr annum from the idandof Vtylon a one, and very low prices prevail as a consequenee. Note Btatistics: Tlie l'oylrM sKwiii hfgtn Ocl. 1 mihI ends Sept. 30 in the following year. Tlie The shipinent of this v;nicjty is reported in weight for each twtlve months endins Scpt. ;{0 in yeiirs named as followa: 1876 16,842 11)8.; 1877, 68,689 1ds. 1878,173,497 1b.; 1879, 373,511 Ibs.; 1880,1,208,518 Ib.; 1881, 1,207,720 Iba.; 1882,3,0!)!)095 Iba.; 1883, 6,935,595 Ibs. ; 1884,11, 492.497 Ibs.; 1885, 11,678,300 Ibs.; 1886, ir, mu 12 Ihs Quinine in conscquence has declined üurniK the pust ten years from $3 to less than 50 cents per ouuce, toward which our foimer protective duty and our late free trade poücy have been insiuiticant factors. It is very evident, therefore, to those who are willin to be oonvinoed, ;md not to those who are so blind that they will not see, that the enormous increase in tlie output of birk froui Ceylon coinnienced at just about the time thut qalnlne was mude free, and as stated above, that the former protective duty and the placing of quinine on llie tree list, had but little weight witli the jrradu al lowering in the price of quinine. From thut dny until this the inciease in the export of b:irk froui Ceylon has been at the rate of bet ween 2,00(1,000 and 3 000,000 pounds per year, and during; 1885 and 1886, 4,000,000 pounds. The Free Pres, in its issue of Jan. 6, States that in 1879 there were tour establishmenta in tliia country turnicg out quinine, in 1883 it states that the number of manufacturéis in this country had increased to tive, and still later Uiat the number had further lucreased to twelve. This infurniatlon UDdoubtedly was taken from au article in the iev York Star of Dec. 12, which declared: "In June, 1879, when the free qilfnlne bill was passed there were but fmir manufacturer? of quinine In the United States - Powers & Weitrhtman, 1? wenifarten & Sun, Koason & MittUon and C. T. Wliite & Co." Further on It says: "Aftcr the drug had been on the f ree list nearly niue years the number of inanufacturers has increased from four to twelve, as follows: Latín & Pink, W. H. Sohieffelin & Co., l'.iwcrs & Welghtinan, Rosengarten it Sou, McKesson & Kobbius, Keasbv & Mattison, A. 1! Tliompson, 0 T. White & Co., Parke, Davls & Co., Stevenson, l!:irnes & Jester, Mallinckrodt Chemical worka, W. S. Meniil chemical oompftny, Ed. R. Squibb and William K. Warner." Thls list, however, it will be seen, numbers fourtee'i Inslead of twelve; of the fourteen concerns named tbove tiirke onlt are nono manufucturing quinine, two having rclinquitked the hunnes and nine NEVEB HAVINO MADK AN1T. I have nO desire to stand U) and protect quinine particularly, but desire to see fair play. A correspondan t of the Free Prest, Jan. 12 replylngto tlie above. nmke the assertlon lliafwnea the blood tax wns removwl Iliu prlce of qulnlue fellatonco (not graduully, as Mr. Davls state) one-half, and tliecuuntr.v enjoyed ctieaper qulnloe as the reialt of the reductlon." In the Tribune of January 20, Mr. Davls glves detuilt-d sUiühi loof tb e prloe of niiInliieduiliiK tlm years linmediatvly f"llowliiKtneremovalortlie larlif. Tha prlce m February, 1S7 was ut. i.. riin tu lis. th.followlui; month iii"l fiillingto KU.lnJunc. In .luly Ihc larlir was removed. The price of quinine decllned. wlth HuctaatioiiK, frora lis. d laJuly toa mínimum of 9. lid. In December but tUen steadlly rose untll It raaobed the fleureof 1. :!!. in Augusi, li deollolng aiíulngradiially to9s. d. In December. Tlms at the end of eighteen montbs Ihere bad, only been slight temporary reductlons In the prlce of the du ly free quinine. the avergn during thl perlod hetng hlKher thaoJo the al x inonths precedí nï. lo 1SSI the prlee rose Us. 8d., In March, then began. for the flrst time, and colucldently wlth the arrUiil ui qauntlty of bark from Ceylon. 10 liow a declded downward tendency, dropping little by little to Rs. 8d. In November, but rnllylng aitaln and ruling, durliiK thewhole of the succeedlug year, at about Ht The prlce has eontlnued to decline graduully and wlth Ihictuations from the closu of 18S2 until the low figures of recent months were reached. but It was nearly Uve years afler the tari ff wan removed before the prlce was reduceU one-half.


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