Medicine as business and profession

Research paper by George J. Agich

Indexed on: 01 Dec '90Published on: 01 Dec '90Published in: Theoretical medicine


This paper analyzes one dimension of the frequently alleged contradiction between treating medicine as a business and as a profession, namely the incompatibility between viewing the physician patient relationship in economic and moral terms. The paper explores the utilitarian foundations of economics and the deontological foundations of professional medical ethics as one source for the business/medicine conflict that influences beliefs about the proper understanding of the therapeutic relationship. It, then, focuses on the contrast and distinction between medicine as business and profession by critically analyzing the classic economic view of the moral status of medicine articulated by Kenneth Arrow. The paper concludes with a discussion of some advantages associated with regarding medicine as a business.