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

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Medical Journal of Australia, 2011, 194 (1), pp. 34 - 37
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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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