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July 1, 1983

Marketing and Medicine: Why Advertising Is Not an Issue

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, University of Louisville (Dr Wright), and DePaul University College of Commerce, Chicago (Dr Allen).

JAMA. 1983;250(1):47-48. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340010029023

ADVERTISING has been a controversial issue in the health profession for at least a decade. Professional societies have traditionally discouraged or prohibited client or patient solicitation efforts by their members. Many professions have belatedly considered themselves out of the mainstream of the competitive marketplace. However, recent rulings by the Supreme Court and lower federal courts have upheld the right of health care practitioners to advertise. Furthermore, the introduction and expansion of advertising in several health-related professions have promoted more competitive pricing, higher consumer awareness, better service, and decreased overall cost.1 Thus, advertising and more manifest client solicitation techniques have broken into the formerly untouched territory of the health professions.2

A recent exploratory survey of physicians' attitudes at a regional meeting of the American College of Physicians disclosed strong sentiments against any type of public advertisement of physicians' services.3,4 Furthermore, almost all respondents were of the opinion that