Margaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthor
To the Editor: The study by Dr
Christie and colleagues1 presents some very interesting and
disturbing findings. However, the study fails to recognize that
self-prescription and self-treatment have already been determined to be
an unethical practice, according to the opinion of the Council on
Ethical and Judicial Affairs of the American Medical Association. The
Council's policy states, "Physicians should generally not treat
themselves or members of their immediate family."2
Exceptions are made for emergencies or in isolated instances when no
other physician is available. The reasoning behind this policy is
similar to the concerns articulated by Christie and colleagues.
Self-treatment raises questions regarding professional objectivity and
the assurance of quality medical care.
Tenery, Jr RM. Self-prescribing by Physicians. JAMA. 1999;281(16):1488-1490. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-281-16-jbk0428