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Views & Reviews From the Frontline

Bad medicine: private practice

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 15 August 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e5503
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. destwo{at}

In private practice, financial incentives can lead to unnecessary treatments; in socialised state healthcare, advice and interventions are not tainted by temptation. The poison of profit spawned the inefficient and chaotic system that is US healthcare. The US Fortune 500 includes 11 healthcare providers and insurers that have enormous financial interest in blocking reform.1 Private practice sees patients as a raw material churned at the mill for profit; it has vested interest in making us all patients. In the developing world, private practice diverts scarce resources from the needy to the wealthy—who in turn …

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