If there is any part in the physician's vocation where ethics and commercialism may conflict it is in the writing, dispensing and renewing of prescriptions. The prescription forms a bridge from the one to the other and, after leaving the office, is apt to remind the writer that pure ethics are good theory but sometimes poor practice. The piece of paper that the patient receives has a positive value; it may be negotiable and bring success or failure. It may be a source of profit to the pharmacist, a fountain of relief and comfort or disaster to the patient, and a means of building up a new reputation or shattering an old one to the physician. It is therefore natural that all three, the physician, the pharmacist and the public, should largely be interested in the prescription, and each one watch over it in his own way.
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