patent medicine

noun

Definition of patent medicine

: a nonprescription medicinal preparation that is typically protected by a trademark and whose contents are incompletely disclosed also : any drug that is a proprietary

Note: Patent medicine is often used to refer to a product (such as an elixir, tonic, or liniment) that was marketed as a medicine in the U.S. during the 1800s and early 1900s but was typically of unproven effectiveness and questionable safety.

Examples of patent medicine in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Medicine shows were the entertainment arm of one of the era's most powerful industries: patent medicine. Nicole Hemmer, CNN, 28 Sep. 2021 Two of the handmade figures represented a banjo player and a character dubbed Doc Cogwheel, a patent medicine salesperson. Dewayne Bevil, orlandosentinel.com, 7 Dec. 2020 In the 1670s, what came to be called Jesuit bark had made its way into a popular patent medicine, along with rose leaves, lemon juice, and wine. Adam Rogers, Wired, 11 Nov. 2020 Naturally this unit can be tuned still further for racing purposes by such patent medicines as Dr. Shelby's Cobra Elixir (or imitations available from your local Performance Drugstore). Car and Driver, 17 Apr. 2020 Shkreli became internationally famous in 2015 when his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price of an off-patent medicine by more than 5,000%. Adam Feuerstein, STAT, 6 Apr. 2020 Fast forward to 2019 and the echoes of patent medicine in today’s marketplace are resounding, complete with claims of panacea treatment and the co-opting of real science. Lloyd Minor, Fortune, 9 Sep. 2019 With the patent medicine business in its prime, elixirs and liniments promised relief from every complaint under the sun. Lloyd Minor, Fortune, 9 Sep. 2019 In a deal that creates a behemoth in the market for everyday drugs, Pfizer agreed to merge its off-patent medicines business with Mylan, a generics drugmaker. The Economist, 3 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'patent medicine.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of patent medicine

1770, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for patent medicine

Time Traveler

The first known use of patent medicine was in 1770

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Dictionary Entries Near patent medicine

patent log

patent medicine

patent note

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Statistics for patent medicine

Last Updated

8 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Patent medicine.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/patent%20medicine. Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for patent medicine

patent medicine

noun
pat·​ent medicine | \ ˈpat-ᵊnt-, British usually ˈpāt- \

Medical Definition of patent medicine

: a nonprescription medicinal preparation that is typically protected by a trademark and whose contents are incompletely disclosed also : any drug that is a proprietary

Note: Patent medicine is often used to refer to a product (as an elixir, tonic, or liniment) that was marketed as a medicine in the U.S. during the 1800s and early 1900s but was typically of unproven effectiveness and questionable safety.

patent medicine

noun

Legal Definition of patent medicine

: a packaged nonprescription drug which is protected by a trademark and whose contents are incompletely disclosed also : any drug that is a proprietary

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