EDITORIAL


EDITORIAL. Who stands to lose the most by this revision of the medical ethics dose? Obviously the patient, the very person whose welfare should be the first consideration of every physician. A patient goes to a doctor because he is ill and needs the doctors professional services.


DO YOU DISPENSE DRUGS?

Do you dispense drugs? If you do, you are not an ethical doctor according to the AMA Principles of Medical Ethics, as amended June 1954. Section 8 says: It is unethical for a physician to participate in the ownership of a drug store in his medical practice area unless adequate drugstore facilities are otherwise unavailable. This inadequacy must be confirmed by his component medical society. THIS SAME PRINCIPLE APPLIES TO PHYSICIANS WHO DISPENSE DRUGS OR APPLIANCES. In both instances the practice is unethical if secrecy or correction are employed, or financial interest is placed above medical care. On the other hand it may sometimes be advisable or even necessary for the physician to provide certain appliances or remedies without profit which patients cannot procure from other sources.

Who stands to lose the most by this revision of the medical ethics dose? Obviously the patient, the very person whose welfare should be the first consideration of every physician. A patient goes to a doctor because he is ill and needs the doctors professional services.

Considering the patients health and the patients time, why shouldnt he receive his prescription at the same office visit or home call? Why should he make two trips when one will do? At night store is often several miles from the doctors office, why impose an unnecessary inconvenience upon a sick person? In addition to saving the patients time and energy, the patient is generally saves money, as he gets both his medicine and office call for the same price.

From the doctors point of view, dispensing drugs does take extra time, and is a brother for the additional space required in the office. This trouble is greatly offset by the satisfaction of knowing exactly what each patient is given. There will not be unknown substitutes in quality of drugs or in the directions for their use. To homoeopathic doctors this is important.

Each homoeopathic doctor carefully protects and keep his remedies so they will maintain constant potency year after year. Samuel Hahnemann in his careful precise way was unhappy with the careless manner in which druggists compounded his prescriptions. He talked and wrote much about it. This resulted in the embittered druggists securing a strict law against physicians dispensing drugs in that area. Hahnemann moved to another part of Germany.

The National Pharmacy Association has asked the AMA to take active steps to bar all individual and group practicing doctors from dispensing their own drugs and to strictly enforce this new section 8 of the ethical code. If the AMA does not work fast enough, it is quite possible that the National Retail Drug Association, working through state association, will try to pass laws making it illegal for physicians to dispense drugs.

Work is already underway in Wisconsin by the Retail druggists Association to build a favorable public opinion to pass this law. The State and local medical societies are literally hamstrung to fight the passage of this law because of this revision in medical ethics by the AMA which forbids doctors to dispense except in unusual circumstances. So how can the doctor fight the same thing he says he is nationally against by his ethical code. A fine state of affairs!

The druggists of course have an argument too. They say the doctors are consistently violating the AMA and ethical code because they dispense of profit. I feel that the number of doctors who sell their drugs for a profit is very small, certainly less than 10 percent of that 33 percent who do some dispensing. There will always be some doctors who are out for a “quick dollar” in any area of medicine, whether they are “eye doctors” “allergy shot” doctors, dentists, chiropractors, osteopaths, or cultist practitioners.

These few profit-chaser will always cast a long shadow of doubt on the 90-95 percent of the physicians who dispense their own remedies at cost to the patient.

Secondly, the druggists insist that medical doctors are in serious competition with them. This argument seems out of keeping with survey made by Medical Economics in 1948 and 1952. In 1948 the report showed 45 percent of the doctors dispensed SOME drugs, and only 2 percent (thats us) who dispensed ALL their drugs, and only 2 percent (thats us) who dispensed ALL their drugs. Four years later, in 1952, a similar survey showed that only 35 percent dispensed SOME of their drugs. How a declining minority of doctors poses such a competitive problem to the druggists is hard to understand. The claim is mainly made against the group practicing doctors who have their own pharmacies. The druggists say this isnt ethical even though the group of doctors have a licensed pharmacist in charge of all drugs and dispensing.

Rabe R F
Dr Rudolph Frederick RABE (1872-1952)
American Homeopathy Doctor.
Rabe graduated from the New York Homeopathic Medical College and trained under Timothy Field Allen and William Tod Helmuth.

Rabe was President of the International Hahnemannian Association, editor in chief of the Homeopathic Recorder, and he wrote Medical Therapeutics for daily reference. Rabe was Dean and Professor of Homeopathic Therapeutics at the New York Homeopathic Medical College.