Clinical Bioethics in China: The Challenge of Entering a Market Economy
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 2006 February; 31(1): 7- 12
Over the last quarter-century, China has experienced dramatic changes associated with its development of a market economy. The character of clinical practice is also profoundly influenced by the ways in which reimbursement scales are established in public hospitals. The market distortions that lead to the over-prescription of drugs and the medically unindicated use of more expensive drugs and more costly high-technology diagnostic and therapeutic interventions create the most significant threat to patients. The payment of red packets represents a black-market attempt to circumvent the non-market constraint on physicians' fees for services. These economic and practice pattern changes are taking place as China and many Pacific Rim societies are reconsidering the moral foundations of their professional ethics and their bioethics. The integrity of the medical profession and the trust of patients in physicians can only be restored and protected if the distorting forces of contemporary public policy are altered.
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