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March 26, 1997

Bringing Market Medicine to Professional Account

Author Affiliations

From the Ethics Institute, American Medical Association, Chicago, Ill.

JAMA. 1997;277(12):1004-1005. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540360072035

Professions and trades have always differed in the social goods and goals they pursue, and for this reason medicine and business are sometimes said to be incompatible. Indeed, the potential for monetary motives to undermine medical care is so old that the earliest articulations of medical values included injunctions to care for the poor and wealthy alike and to avoid the influence of monetary gain over professional action.1,2 Nonetheless, mutually dependent, medicine and business have coexisted through the ages in necessary tension. Business needs medicine in order to provide for the health care of workers and also to capitalize on the management or investment opportunities that medical activities generate. Medicine, in turn, needs at least enough business acumen to ensure a viable delivery system and to make money for the purposes of, say, education, research, or expanding its patient population.

See also p 985.

The dynamic between medicine and