In-office sale of health-related products by physicians presents a financial conflict of interest, risks placing undue pressure on the patient, and threatens to erode patient trust and the primary obligation of physicians to serve the interest of their patients before their own. When these items offer some health-related benefits the physician's influence over the sale is amplified and makes it even more necessary to place limits on such activities.
1. Physicians who do sell health related products from their offices should not sell any health-related good whose claims of benefit lack scientific validity. Physicians should rely on peer-reviewed literature and other unbiased scientific sources that review evidence in a sound, systematic fashion when judging the efficaciousness of the product.
2. Physicians who sell health-related products from their offices should follow these guidelines to limit their conflicts of interest minimize the risk of brand endorsement, and ensure a focus on benefits to patients.
a). Physicians may distribute health-related products to their patients free of charge or at cost, in order to make useful products readily available to their patients. When health-related products are offered free or at cost, it removes the elements of personal gain and financial conflicts of interest that may interfere, or appear to interfere, with the physician's independent medical judgment.
b). Except under certain circumstances, such as those described in Opinion 8.032, “Conflict of Interest: Physician Ownership of Medical Facilities,” physicians should not sell a health-related good when patients can obtain a product that offers the same medical benefit at a local pharmacy or health-products store.
3. Physicians should not participate in exclusive distributorship of health-related products, in which the products are available only through physicians' offices and for which product there is no comparable alternative available at a local pharmacy or health-products store. Physicians should manufacturers to make their products more widely accessible to patients.
I hope you found my answer helpful, please click on the GREEN ACCEPT button above for my answer. This is necessary for me to be paid for my work and so that I can get credit for assisting you. Your question will not close, and you will still have the opportunity to follow-up if needed. Leaving a bonus and positive feedback is not required, but doing so is certainly appreciated!
If you have additional questions, please keep in mind that I do not know what you already know or don't know, or with what you need help, unless you tell me. Please consider that I am answering the question or question that is posed in your posting based upon my reading of your post and sometimes misunderstandings can occur. If I did not answer the question you thought you were asking, please respond with the specific question you wanted answered.
Also remember, sometimes the law does not support what we want it to support, but that is not the fault of the person answering the question, so please be courteous.
PLEASE NOTE WELL, LEGAL ANSWERS TAKE MORE THAN “MINUTES” TO PUT TOGETHER AS WE ARE DEALING WITH LAWS OF 50 STATES PLUS FEDERAL LAWS, AS WELL AS DEALING WITH OTHER CUSTOMERS, SO PLEASE BE PATIENT IT WILL BE MORE THAN “MINUTES” IN SOME CASES BEFORE YOU GET A RESPONSE, BUT BE ASSURED YOU ARE NOT BEING IGNORED.
There can also be a delay of an hour or more in between my answers because I may be helping other customers or taking a break.
You can always request me through my profile at http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-paulmjd/ or beginning your question with “For PaulMJD…”
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).