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Position Papers |

Selling Products Out of the Office

Gail J. Povar, MD; Lois Snyder, JD, Ethics and Human Rights Committee
[+] Article and Author Information

This paper was written by Gail J. Povar, MD, and Lois Snyder, JD, and was developed by the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM) Ethics and Human Rights Committee. Members of the ACP-ASIM Ethics and Human Rights Committee were Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA (Chair); S.Y. Tan, MD (Vice-Chair); Richard J. Carroll, MD; David A. Fleming, MD; Susan Dorr Goold, MD; Alan L. Gordon, MD; Vincent Herrin, MD; Joanne Lynn, MD; Steven H. Miles, MD; Gail J. Povar, MD; Bernard M. Rosof, MD; Daniel P. Sulmasy, OFM, MD, PhD; James A. Tulsky, MD; and Lee J. Dunn Jr., JD, LLM (consultant). This paper was approved by the Board of Regents on 18 July 1999.

Requests for Reprints: Lois Snyder, JD, Center for Ethics and Professionalism, American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine, 190 N. Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106. For reprint orders in quantities exceeding 100, please contact the Reprints Coordinator; phone, 215-351-2657; e-mail, reprints@mail.acponline.org.

Current Author Addresses: Dr. Povar: Cameron Medical Group, 8700 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

Ms. Snyder: Center for Ethics and Professionalism, American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine, 190 N. Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106.


Ann Intern Med. 1999;131(11):863-864. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-131-11-199912070-00012
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The sale of products from the physician's office raises several ethical issues and may affect the trust necessary to sustain the patient–physician relationship. When deciding whether to sell products out of the office and, if so, which ones, physicians should carefully consider such criteria as the urgency of the patient's need, the clinical relevance to the patient's condition, the adequacy of evidence to support use of the product, and geographic and time constraints for the patient in otherwise obtaining the product. Physicians should make full disclosure about their financial interests in selling the product and inform patients about alternatives for purchasing the product. Charges for products sold through the office should be limited to the reasonable costs incurred in making them available.

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