What does corporate veterinary medicine mean to you? Why does it matter?

Corporate overkill in the fewest possible words


Before 1960, if you didn’t like the way a doctor practiced, you could go down the street to the next doctor. If you didn’t like the prices at one doctor, you could go down the street to another doctor. And because doctors were the only people that could own a practice, they had reputations to uphold. And did you know,

it was illegal for doctors to get together and fix prices between the practices? That was so that there would be no monopolies or mass-malpracctice in what could arguably be considered humankind’s most essential ‘product’.


In 1960 all that stopped.


A justice on the Supreme Court broke a tie and adjudged that non-doctors could own medical practices, hire doctors, and franchise the practice of medicine.


Every clinic in an entire city could have exactly the same price, and it could be as high as they want.


Every practice in a city can be owned by the same company, and have all the same policies and practices. (And corporate greed.)


In corporate environments, doctors come and go, so the corporation has a reputation and not the doctors.


And perhaps the greatest damage of the 1960 decision of the supreme court, was that doctor’s practices can be owned by a bunch of kids with  nothing but masters degrees and NO Hippocratic Oath or Code of Ethics. 

Suddenly, the ethics of the doctor were pitted against the motives of the stockholders.

And the final loser in that equation is the patient.

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Author: Dr. Erik Johnson
Dr. Erik Johnson is the author of several texts on companion animal and fish health. Johnson Veterinary Services has been operating in Marietta, GA since 1996. Dr Johnson graduated from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 1991. Dr Johnson has lived in Marietta Georgia since 1976.