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Opinion 8.062 - Sale of Non-Health-Related Goods from Physicians' Offices

The sale of non-health-related goods by physicians presents a conflict of interest and threatens to erode the primary obligation of physicians to serve the interests of their patients before their own. Furthermore, this activity risks placing undue pressure on the patient and risks demeaning the practice of medicine.

Physicians should not sell non-health-related goods from their offices or other treatment settings, with the exception noted below.

Physicians may sell low-cost non-health-related goods from their offices for the benefit of community organizations, provided that (1) the goods in question are low-cost; (2) the physician takes no share in profit from their sale; (3) such sales are not a regular part of the physician's business; (4) sales are conducted in a dignified manner; and (5) sales are conducted in such a way as to assure that patients are not pressured into making purchases. (I, II)

Issued June 1998 based on the report "Sale of Non-Health-Related Goods from Physicians' Offices," adopted December 1997. (JAMA. 1998 Aug 12;280(6):563.)

Clarification of Opinion 8.062

Do the guidelines discussing the sale of health-related products (E-8.063) and the sale of non-health-related goods (E-8.062) apply to physicians’ practice websites?

Yes. The physician who provides or sells products to patients must follow the above guidelines regardless of whether the products are provided in the physician’s office or through a practice website.

Adopted December 2000 as "Addendum III: Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs Clarification on Sale of Products from Physician Office (E-8.062 and E-8.063)."