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Sale of goods from podiatrist offices

Potential Ethical Issues

Adopted: Wed, 2010-04-21 - Modified: Thu, 2014-11-13

Back to Position Statements

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 Board of Podiatry Examiners that the following instructions should guide the conduct of podiatrists or licensees.

Sale of practice-related items such as orthopedic shoes, ointments, creams and lotions, splints, braces, and appliances, etc., by podiatrists is acceptable if, in the doctor's reasoned judgment, he or she is the best source, or after the patient has been told that 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 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 podiatrist or his/her staff from the podiatrist's office or other place where health care services are provided, must always be guided by what is in the patient's best interest.