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December 22, 1978

Caveat Emptor

Author Affiliations

Assistant Director Department of Undergraduate Medical Evaluation

JAMA. 1978;240(26):2875. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290260079007

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In recent years a number of medical schools in Mexico and the Caribbean basin have accepted large numbers of US citizens to further their institutional growth through high tuition fees charged US citizens only. Because increasing numbers of disappointed applicants to accredited US schools seek a medical education abroad, new schools continue to be formed, especially in the Caribbean. Although self-designated as universities, these are usually single-unit institutions begun with the assent of independent or semi-independent island governments with populations as small as 15,000. The proprietary schools, euphemistically referred to as "offshore American medical schools," are owned by US investors or others who expect a financial return. Although they may have been added to the World Directory of Medical Schools (1970), they are neither accredited nor recognized by the World Health Organization. Except for recognition as a school by the government of the host country, there is no guarantee of