Medical merchants: conflicts of interest, office product sales and notifiable conduct

Publisher:
Australian Medical Association
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Medical Journal of Australia, 2011, 194 (1), pp. 34 - 37
Issue Date:
2011-01
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Professional ethical codes identify the issue of conflict of interest, which can distort doctors' objective judgements concerning the best interests of patients. Legal fiduciary duties may be owed by doctors to patients in situations of potential conflict of interest. Prescribing and dispensing functions have been largely legally separated to prevent conflicts of interest arising. The advent of integrative medicine has been accompanied by an apparent growth of in-house selling of therapeutic products. Medical merchandising constitutes a prima-facie conflict of interest and may amount to notifiable conduct under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law provisions. We believe that doctors who sell therapeutic products should adhere to strict conditions to avoid significantly departing from accepted professional standards. Doctors who have a reasonable belief that a colleague is failing to comply with these conditions could consider notifying the Medical Board of Australia.
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