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You would have been forgiven for being surprised on Sept. 12 when a panel of advisers to the Food and Drug Administration concluded that the active ingredient in Sudafed PE and other over-the-counter decongestants is completely ineffective. It was front-page news, birthed myriad explainer stories on the internet, and even inspired a lawsuit against companies that sold the medicine, phenylephrine.

Yet when T.J. Parker, the entrepreneur and pharmacist who sold PillPack to Amazon, saw the news, he tweeted, “Didn’t everyone know this?”


He had a point.

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