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On the TakeHow Medicine's Complicity with Big Business Can Endanger Your Health$
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Jerome P. Kassirer

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195300048

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195300048.001.0001

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How did it Happen?

How did it Happen?

(p.170) 9 How did it Happen?
On the Take

Jerome P. Kassirer

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores how money came to exert such a remarkable influence over the medical profession. It considers some of the factors that made many of America's doctors pay more attention to their own desires than to the health of their patients. It proposes that the runaway cost of care, changing financial incentives, inflated income expectations, falling physicians' income, changes in patent law, and substantial influence of industry on medical research were essential ingredients. Societal and cultural factors also contributed heavily. Putting “business strategies” on a high pedestal encouraged many in medicine to ignore a long-held principle that the patient comes first, and a permissive attitude outside of medicine toward financial conflicts of interest, undoubtedly led many to think that such arrangements were also acceptable inside the walls of health care. The new complicity with industry spread like an infectious disease through a community.

Keywords:   medical profession, physicians, conflict of interest, cost of care, financial incentives, inflated income expectations

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