Patent medicines first appeared in England in the 1600s. When amedication was patented, its formula was owned by the patent holder.No one else could duplicate and sell the medication.To qualify for apatent, a medicine only had to be original. It did not have to be eithereffective or safe. Because the ingredients of patented remedies had tobe listed, many sellers of these types of products never applied forpatents. Instead, they registered distinctive trade names in order tomarket their wares. The ingredients were unspecified but their brandname was unique. In time, all of these medicines being promoted forpublic sale became known as "patent medicines," whether they were infact patented or not. Most were promoted as astonishingly effectivecures for an equally astonishing range of maladies. For example, an1800s advertisement for "Dr. Jayne's Alternative" claimed that it curedat least 25 different ailments. These conditions ranged from cancer toskin problems.
Read more: Patent Medicine - used, first, body, produced, uses, Early British Patent Medicines, Early American PatentMedicines, Patent Medicines of the 1800s http://www.discoveriesinmedicine.com/Ni-Ra/Patent-Medicine.html#b#ixzz24kEwV4mC