The profit motive and market medicine have had a significant impact on clinical practice and research in the field of spine surgery. An overview of current concerns is presented.
The objective of this study was to provide those involved in the study and treatment of spinal disorders with a critical overview of the effects of the profit motive on our practices.
Summary of Background Data.
Historically, the profit motive has been viewed as eroding the standards of spine surgery, encouraging surgeons to operate aggressively and researchers to bias their results. Although there are legitimate concerns regarding the role played by such market forces, the profit motive exerts several quite positive effects on spine surgery as well.
Negative and positive aspects of the profit motive in spine surgery are explored along with alternative approaches.
The profit motive in spine surgery can result in unnecessary surgery, as well as the push to market of unproven technologies. Yet, without a robust profit motive, it is unclear where sufficient funding could be found to support research and education, and to underwrite the advancement of new technologies.
The profit motive significantly influences the way we practice and conduct research in spine surgery. To minimize the negative aspects of the profit motive, spine surgeons and researchers must refrain from being used by companies to rush products to market and/or compromising patient care out of self-interest.