Capitalism Is Choking Professionalism in Medicine

3 May, 2019

Essential contemporary Debate - courtesy of Medscape - READ ON - Lets get viewpoints from Nigeria -

Capitalism Is Choking Professionalism in Medicine

George D. Lundberg, MD               April 24, 2019

This transcript has been edited for clarity. [Edited further by HIFA moderator NPW. The full text is freely available here: ]


Hello and welcome. I'm Dr George Lundberg and this is At Large at Medscape.

Medicine has always been both a business and a profession. Chaucer wrote about it in The Canterbury Tales; so did George Bernard Shaw in Major Barbara.

The problem arises when the pendulum swings too far. Back in the 1990s I labeled that pendulum "Medicine's Rocking Horse."[1] But pendulums, naturally, eventually swing both ways. I recently published a commentary on these pages about the special opportune political moment that we in medicine seem to be entering...

A "better life" may not be possible without decent affordable basic healthcare for all. The nonprofit, nonpartisan Commonwealth Fund has published a report[2] of how eight developed countries handle their universal healthcare systems, with an interactive tool that promotes comparison shopping, by country.

Regular readers may recall that I praised Dr Elizabeth Rosenthal's great book, An American Sickness, in 2017.[3] This book blows the monetary conspiracy of corporate American medicine sky high and instructs American consumers about all of corporate medicine's tricks, and how consumers may defend themselves against the onslaught of money-hunger that assails the American sick...

Although it may be historically impossible, at this late stage, to divorce capitalism from medicine in America, it should be possible, even essential, to stop the pendulum (or rocking horse) at its current extreme and begin the swing back toward a balance...

Labels such as Conservative, Liberal, Progressive, Socialist, Republican, Democratic,Independent, Green, Dixiecrat, etc. are short and convenient but, by definition, divide us. I suggest that a better way would be to state desirable national attributes and goals, and work together from and toward those:

- Healthcare and education as good for all;

- Safe, drinkable water and safe, breathable air;

- Government that promotes both robust business and vibrant consumer interests;

- A tax structure that enables society to achieve these defining elements for all...

Healthcare doesn't have to be this way. Change is in the air. We can return to professionalism in medicine, but it will require nothing less than personal internal and national political revolution.

That's my opinion. I'm Dr George Lundberg and this is At Large at Medscape...


Joseph Ana


@Health Resources International (HRI) WA.

National Implementing Organisation: 12-Pillar Clinical Governance

National Implementing Organisation: PACK Nigeria Programme for PHC

Publisher: Medical and Health Journals; Books and Periodicals.

Nigeria: 8 Amaku Street, State Housing & 20 Eta Agbor Road, Calabar.

Tel: +234 (0) 8063600642

Website: email: ;

HIFA profile: Joseph Ana is the Lead Consultant and Trainer at the Africa Centre for Clinical Governance Research and Patient Safety in Calabar, Nigeria. In 2015 he won the NMA Award of Excellence for establishing 12-Pillar Clinical Governance, Quality and Safety initiative in Nigeria. He has been the pioneer Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) National Committee on Clinical Governance and Research since 2012. He is also Chairman of the Quality & Performance subcommittee of the Technical Working Group for the implementation of the Nigeria Health Act. He is a pioneer Trustee-Director of the NMF (Nigerian Medical Forum) which took the BMJ to West Africa in 1995. He is particularly interested in strengthening health systems for quality and safety in LMICs. He has written Five books on the 12-Pillar Clinical Governance for LMICs, including a TOOLS for Implementation. He established the Department of Clinical Governance, Servicom & e-health in the Cross River State Ministry of Health, Nigeria in 2007. Website: Joseph is a member of the HIFA Steering Group:

jneana AT