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Ethics and Public Policy
July 1999

On Market Share, Ethics, and the Exercise of Public PolicyPoint of View

Author Affiliations

From Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pa.


From Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pa.

Arch Facial Plast Surg. 1999;1(3):217-219. doi:

As a stream cannot rise above its source, so a code cannot change a low-grade man into a high-grade doctor, but it can help a good man to be a better man, and a more enlightened doctor. It can quicken and inform a conscience, but not create one.—International Code of Medical Ethics
 World Medical Association, London, 1949

Make no mistake about it: our ethics drive public policy. The failure to understand this has contributed to the alarming proliferation of inquiries and legislation about surgery for appearance, those of us who provide it, and the facilities in which we work. Office-based surgery, surgery for appearance, and the qualifications of physicians who do both are currently under intense scrutiny by public agencies. We will examine why this is so, how we might respond, and how we can minimize the intensification of such efforts in the future. Although we will not be able to crawl off the stage of society's microscope, we may be able to get the makers of public policy to use a lower-power objective if we demonstrate more ethical scrutiny of our own.

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