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Business Practices

Most physicians start out with an altruistic desire to help people.  It was the unfortunate marriage of medicine and business that tempted some to bend the rules to become very wealthy.  In the mid-twentieth century a physician could do very well but that physician would not become truly wealthy.  That all changed when in this country medicine did not emerge as a responsibility of our government,  such as education or defense did in almost all other countries that have become industrialized.  The U.S. Government also inadvertently contributed to medical inflation when they passed into law Medicare without any effective cost controls, and by generously subsidizing biomedical research without maintaining ownership of the new discoveries for the citizens of this country.  Now with the patent office also awarding medical process patents, such as those for human gene sequences, which we understand is not supposed to happen under U.S. law, there is a great big mess and much more profit to gain.  Consideration should also be focused on  the Bayh-Dole Act that allowed government employees to profit from patents they hold on taxpayer funded research.  The CDC is a prime example. CDC employees can derive royalties on patents they hold for tests and vaccines. This certainly influences their role as advisors to the nation (and the world) and not necessarily for the benefit of the public.

For a physician, gaming the current system is a tempting method of becoming incredibly wealthy.   For physicians who want to become more than comfortable and who strive for great wealth,  it is within their reach if they become involved in the pharmaceutical industry, the health-insurance industry, the specialty-hospital industry or the biotechnical industry while selecting the correct for them niche medical specialty to use as their path.  

All of these industries claim to exist to help people, and they can, but helping patients is a by-product and not the goal.   Their goal is to make money and they are very good at doing so, often at the detriment of the patient who often does not receive needed care or is outright ignored.