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November 26, 1997

The Business and Professionalism of Medicine

JAMA. 1997;278(20):1703-1704. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550200079039

Prologue: Crisis = Danger + Opportunity  The conflict between business and professionalism described in the first issue of JAMA of the last decade of this millennium and republished on the next page does not apply only to individual physicians. It also applies to groups of physicians, health care organizations, and professional associations of physicians. The horrendous and well-publicized difficulty1-7 the American Medical Association (AMA) got itself into by entering into and announcing on August 12, 1997, an exclusive trademark licensing agreement with Sunbeam Products Inc bears abundant testimony to the depth of conflict embodied in this tension between business and professionalism.In the aftermath of the AMA's wrenching public adversity, there is good news. We all know that a patient must trust his or her physician. We now also know that the American public needs and must trust the AMA. What else do they have in these days of massive commercialization of