Sale of goods from physician officesCategories: Ethics and Professionalism Adopted: Mar 2001 | Amended: Mar 2006 Next Review Date: May 2011
Inherent in the in-office sale of products is a perceived conflict of interest. On this issue, it is the position of the North Carolina Medical Board that the following instructions should guide the conduct of physicians or licensees.
Sale of practice-related items such as ointments, creams and lotions by Dermatologists, splints and appliances by Orthopedists, spectacles by Ophthalmologists, etc., may be acceptable only after the patient has been told those or similar items can be obtained locally from other sources. Any charge made should be reasonable.
Due to the potential for patient exploitation, the Medical Board opposes licensees participating in exclusive distributorships and/or personal branding, or persuading patients to become dealers or distributors of profit making goods or services.
Licensees should not sell any non health-related goods from their offices or other treatment settings. (This does not preclude selling of such low cost items on an occasional basis for the benefit of charitable or community organizations, provided the licensee receives no share of the proceeds, and patients are not pressured to purchase.)
All decisions regarding sales of items by the physician or his/her staff from the physician’s office or other place where health care services are provided, must always be guided by what is in the patient’s best interest.