1500 Issues and Counting

The Medical Letter was founded in 1959 by Arthur Kallet, a layman, and Harold Aaron, an internist. Arthur was a co-founder of Consumer Research, which became Consumers Union, and he started the publication of Consumer Reports. Harold was on the advisory board of Consumers Union, and The Medical Letter was his idea. The early years were difficult. The pharmaceutical industry was unaccustomed to the kind of scrutiny they received from the new publication, and some companies threatened to sue, and worse, when their drugs received less than favorable reviews. By the time I became a part-time employee in 1969, the seas had calmed, some of the most famous names in medicine were on our editorial and advisory boards, and The Medical Letter was a going concern.

For many years now, we have surveyed our readers on their satisfaction with the publication, particularly with regard to our continuing medical education program, and on the occasion of this milestone I thought it might be permissible to share just one of their recent comments with the readers of this blog:

“I’ve been reading it for 35 years – God you guys are great! … Sticking to a principle the way you have makes you the most valuable resource in medicine – ‘The Medical Letter says…’ always has and still does end all arguments about drugs….”

That should keep us going for many years to come.

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  1. Helen G. Muhlbauer MD FAPA says:

    The person who commented above is a newbie compared to me. I’ve been a faithful reader since 1975, 41 years and counting. I just asked that my new employer, an insurance company with many millions of covered lives, take out an institutional subscription. The 7 people in my division are clamoring for this, since I’ve introduced them all to The Medical Letter by referring to it when we debate adding drugs to the formulary. That doesn’t mean I’ll EVER give up my individual subscription.
    Thanks for all your good work.

  2. If She’s not too busy with myriad acute problems, may God continue to bless our Medical Letter and its stalwart staff! I have been relying on your incomparable work since

  3. Clifford Dacso, MD says:

    In 1974, Dr. Montague Lane provided a Medical Letter subscription for all senior students at Baylor College of Medicine. I have never let my subscription lapse. I (and my patients) rely on Medical Letter for objective analysis and truth telling. Congratulations and I look forward to reading the next 1500 issues.

    • In 1977, Dr. Montague Lane, Professor of Oncology at Baylor College of Medicine, told his students, “If you only read one journal after graduating, make it the Medical Letter.” I haven’t forgotten his words, and have subscribed ever since.

  4. Neal Steigbigel says:

    Great article, Mark. Neal

    Sent from my iPhone


  5. Roberta Schnur, R. Ph says:

    I have been a reader of The Medical Letter since the very first issue, which came out when I was a pharmacy student at Rutgers, and became a subscriber in 1962, as soon as I received my license to practice. Back then especially, there were limited ways in which a provider could obtain recent, reliable and objective information. That has continued to this day, though the internet has made information gathering somewhat easier. I highly value your take on medicines and marketing, and the insight it has provided. Thanks to everyone at Medical Letter for all the years of keeping me current and well informed.

  6. Jeffrey Lazar MD, PhD says:

    I was introduced to The Medical Letter as a second year medical student in Pharmacology (1970). Been a faithful reader ever since. As I have matured and learned more about how companies develop drugs, it has become increasingly important to find a reliable, unbiased source.

  7. Richard Biggs, MD says:

    Congratulations on Issue 1500!
    I have been a subscriber since 1963 and have been very impressed with the candid, practical and valuable information contained in the pages…and no advertisements…even National Geographic magazine now has ads.
    Thanks for the good efforts and good work

  8. gollogly@ptd.net says:

    University of Vermont gave all medical students each issue of The Medical Letter. I’ve been reading and learning since 1972. Thank you for an important job well done.
    James Gallagher,MD,PhD

  9. Adam Robertson M.D. Internal and Emergency Medicine says:

    In 1966, as a medical student, my medicine resident told me I ought to be reading this. I subscribed and I think I have been a subscriber ever since. I may have missed a few issues because of a move causing me to be out of touch, but not intentionally. Other folks do crossword puzzles – I read the Medical Letter. Keep up the good work

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