1. Patients launch $1.27 million crowdfunding campaign for ME/CFS gut microbiome study.
    Check out the website, Facebook and Twitter. Join in donate and spread the word!
New Exercise Study Brings Both Illumination and Questions
Simon McGrath looks at new objective evidence of abnormal response to exercise in ME/CFS patients, and the questions that researchers are still trying to answer ...
Discuss the article on the Forums.

Should Doctors Sell Supplements?

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by ballard, Aug 31, 2010.

  1. ballard

    ballard

    Messages:
    66
    Likes:
    52
    Should doctors sell supplements from their offices, or is there too much chance for a conflict of interest?
    If a doctor sells supplements, how do you know if a doctor is acting in his/her best interest or yours?

    I had a CFS doctor who sold me a big box of supplements. Because I was a vulnerable patient who wanted the doctor to like me, I didn't feel that I could refuse to purchase the supplements.

    The supplements were not effective for me. :eek:
     
  2. Sallysblooms

    Sallysblooms P.O.T.S. now SO MUCH BETTER!

    Messages:
    1,767
    Likes:
    331
    Southern USA
    Not all doctors really understand supplements, but my doctor researches and looks into each one she sells. If you do not want them, you can buy them any place, but I don't. I love knowing how hard she works to keep the best ones. My supplements were very effective and continue to be.
     
  3. ggingues

    ggingues $10 gift code at iHerb GAS343 of $40

    Messages:
    4,080
    Likes:
    908
    Concord, NH
    Interesting question. I would say yes! Because the other question is should they NOT be allowed to sell supplements?

    If so, who dictates this and what are the implications then?!

    I am sorry that your supplements did not help you, unfortunately that is the way treatment is with this damn disease! Lots of misses and few hits!

    When my Dr(s) suggest something, I think about it first, I do not feel pressured, and I usually bring up the financial implications, which they are usually awar of, with such a sick population that they treat. I mean you can buy Fish Oil, Vitamin D, magnesium malate and many other supplements at many other places.

    Also, I got this from a lawyer I was working with in regards to employment issues. Ask the Dr if there is a prescription alternative!

    Might as well make our insurance companies pay, since society has done so little to solve our problems!
     
  4. Otis

    Otis SeƱor Mumbler

    Messages:
    1,116
    Likes:
    116
    USA
    The time I find it objectionable is if there's a high-pressure sales situation involved or if the Dr. is selling a box full. I think it would be reasonable to say in that situation that you want to take them in a controlled fashion and want to try them one at a time or that you can't afford them all. If the Dr. balks at that kind of response s/he doesn't have your best interests in mind.
     
  5. Hope123

    Hope123 Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,142
    Likes:
    539
    It can definitely be problematic in terms of conflict of interest. I have seen a few traditional Chinese medicine doctors who sell not supplements but herbal medicines in their offices but it has been a non-pressure situation and they are willing to write me a script to get the medicines elsewhere if I wish. These doctors are also ones that have been seen for years by multiple family members/ friends so I have some sense of their integrity.

    If you are able, you can also ask them point-blank if they are making any profit off of the medicines. Some docs will sell items in their office for the convenience of patients or because the item is difficult to obtain (in the US, some mainstream dermatologists do this) and some will sell it at cost (i.e. what they paid) to their patients. Of course, the doc can lie so again, it comes down to trust.

    You might also want to ask them how long after you take X should you see a response and how long they expect you to be on it overall. In some cases, they might not be able to give you a pat answer but should be able to give you an idea of what they plan.
     
  6. ballard

    ballard

    Messages:
    66
    Likes:
    52
    This is quoted from the AMA Code of Medical Ethics:

    "In-office sale of health-related products by physicians presents a financial conflict of interest, risks placing undue pressure on the patient, and threatens to erode patient trust and undermine the primary obligation of physicians to serve the interests of their patients before their own."

    More information can be found here:

    http://tinyurl.com/2b4dyk3

    I think we need to be skeptical about physicians who sell us supplements without full financial disclosure indicating no conflict of interest. Evidence of peer-reviewed literature on the effectiveness of the supplement should also be given to the patient.

    After 16 years with CFS, I am probably hypersensitive to the mistreatment of patients with this difficult disease. A lot of people could of helped us but didn't, including the charlatans who sold us dubious treatments and supplements, the CDC, individual doctors who saw thousands of us but never spoke up for us, people with vested interests in psychological causes to name a few. Thank goodness for the WPI. I hope the gravy train is ending for those who would prey upon people with CFS.

    To take advantage of the sick for financial gain in pretty low.:Retro mad:
     
  7. serenity

    serenity Senior Member

    Messages:
    571
    Likes:
    3
    Austin
    for me, it's a no. i want things to be easy for those who need the supplements & for that reason i would support it, one stop not having to go elsewhere to buy is great for those of us who the tiniest errand can seem like a battle. but for me personally, i do not care for it. i am turned off right away by any doc's office that does this. it's just not for me.
     
  8. Sallysblooms

    Sallysblooms P.O.T.S. now SO MUCH BETTER!

    Messages:
    1,767
    Likes:
    331
    Southern USA
    I am very thankful I can get my supplements with my doctor. She studies and researches each one so she know exactly what you are taking, purtity etc. I get some online too, but only after she gives me the right brand etc. I am sure some doctors are not the best and don't know much, but many, many are very good and like to know what you are taking instead of whatever brands are in stores.

    Many dentists sell great rinses for the mouth, etc. You don't have to get them, just depends on the level of the doctor and the trust you have developed.
     
  9. floydguy

    floydguy Senior Member

    Messages:
    650
    Likes:
    238
    I don't like it but feel there is a difference between selling and being put in position of being "forced" into buying from the doc. I don't know about you but I don't have a lot of choices in seeing docs. If I used that criteria I wouldn't have any choices.

    The healthcare system is so messed up this is pretty low on my list of gripes.
     
  10. Hope123

    Hope123 Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,142
    Likes:
    539
    This is somewhat off topic but if you find yourself spending thousands a year on supplements/ health provider visits/ tests, etc. (I know this might not apply to many people who are barely making it financially), I'd suggest going to see one of the top docs instead (Bateman, Lapp, Peterson, Klimas, Montoya/ Chia (for ID), etc...maybe Enlander, Levine, Lerner/ Joseph Brewster (for ID) - I am less familiar with them) if you can. Komaroff at Harvard but I hear he's not accepting new patients and Bell doesn't either. All these docs have years of experience with CFS. Something in the ballpark range of $5000 is probably adequate for the trip cost, visit, initial testing, and some treatment depending on your issues if you live in the US and need to fly; cheaper if you can drive or are near one. Avoid the Fibro and Fatigue Centers like the plague; spend your thousands with these docs instead.

    Some have long waiting lists, some take Medicare and some don't, no one is promising a cure but I think the above docs are fairly ethical even if some do offer supplements or other treatments in their clinics.
     
  11. Fejal

    Fejal *****

    Messages:
    212
    Likes:
    1
    There has to be a reason for it. I know of only one company that only markets through Drs offices. Most supplements you can get from Swanson Vitamins online which has a money back guarantee. Just make sure they are standardized because they sell ones that aren't and ones that are. It is unethical for an MD to require you to purchase a supplement you can get elsewhere for less money unelss there is a tangible benefit to you.
     
  12. ballard

    ballard

    Messages:
    66
    Likes:
    52
    The May 2011 issue of Consumer Reports has an article titled "Your Doctor as Salesman."

    With regard to selling supplements, CR says "It subverts the responsibility of physicians to place their patients' interests before their own opportunity for financial gain."

    What should you do if you have a doctor who sells supplements during your office visit?
    CR says "Find another doctor." :rolleyes:
     
  13. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,209
    Likes:
    1,354
    Ashland, Oregon
    Hi Ballard,

    I recently started seeing an Osteopath for a chronic low back problem. After a couple visits, he felt I should purchase a "support belt" for my lower back to better hold my ligaments in place, giving them a chance to heal (it worked well). He had them available at the office for convenience and sold me one at his cost. Would have cost me twice as much at a drug store.

    I guess the point I'm making is there are doctors who sell supplements and regard their endeavors quite differently. Some may spend a good amount of time researching to discover the best supplements, and perhaps even sell them at a discount. Others may spend little time at all and charge full price; just doing it for the money.

    So whether selling supplements in an office environment is good or bad is entirely dependent on the motives of the doctors. As with any profession, there are those doctors whose own self interest motivates them; others will have their patients' best interests at heart.

    Choosing the best health care practitioners for ourselves can be a delicate process. If I see various types of warning flags, I usually quickly check them off my list. I went into a doctor's office once and heard the two receptionists gossiping almost non-stop while I was in the waiting room. Talk about bad energy! Never went back again.

    These days, if at all possible, I make a physical trip to a doctor's office before setting up any kind of appointment over the phone. One of the first things I will look for is how I feel immediately upon entering the room. Is the energy in the room uplifting? Is it stiff? Is it stifling? Is it relaxing? Is it HEALING? It's been amazing how accurately these initial moments have been able to indicate what my experiences will be on an ongoing basis.

    I think I may be rambling a bit here. Good luck in finding a practitioner you can trust and can do very well by you.

    Best Regards, Wayne
     
  14. Kina

    Kina Moderation Team Lead

    Messages:
    5,627
    Likes:
    4,256
    Ontario, Canada
    I suppose it depends on the doctors intentions. Is the doctor selling the supplement because he/she wants the patient to have the best quality supplement. Are the supplements marked up for huge profit etc, etc. If I went to a doctor and had my vitamin D levels tested and he tried to sell me vitamin D3. I would have different reactions depending on the circumstances. If he/she was trying to sell me a high quality brand with no profit, I wouldn't be bothered at all. I would be bothered if the Vitamin D3 was radically marked up for a huge profit. Some doctors want to make lots of money any way possible, others are concerned that their patients get high quality products.
     
  15. Sallysblooms

    Sallysblooms P.O.T.S. now SO MUCH BETTER!

    Messages:
    1,767
    Likes:
    331
    Southern USA
    My integrative doctor finds the best supplements for the patients to use. It is VERY important for him to know which supplements I take, I have a regime that I take three times a day. Really important to use what is best for my problems.

    There are some supplements dosing etc, that makes it hard for a knowledgable doctor to really know what you are getting each day. Most doctors do not know the difference, but mine does. I get some supplements there and I order others, as long as they are the brands he has researched. CR doesn't know about integrative doctors that actually know what they are talking about. I am sure they are talking about other docs, you cannot lump them together.

    The line about the patient not getting the best from the doctor is backwards for the best docs. I do get the best from my doctor getting the best care and supplements he can find.
     
  16. drex13

    drex13 Senior Member

    Messages:
    186
    Likes:
    13
    Columbus, Ohio
    The chiroparactor (and certified nutritionist) I see sells supplements that she feels are high quality, and she doesn't mark them up (extravagantly, anyway). She also doesn't force them on anyone, you can buy them from her or not, she just makes recommendations on what she feels a patient needs. I'm o.k. with a doctor selling supplements, as long as they don't force their stuff on you. I am a little leary of doctors who have their own brands, but that being said, I'm getting ready to place an order with Holistic Heal. So, maybe I'm just confusing myself. :confused:
     
  17. Kati

    Kati Patient in training

    Messages:
    2,052
    Likes:
    1,539
    This is a very good question, I am thankful it was asked. Here is my answer as a patient and also as a nurse:

    The patient: No, doctors should not sell vitamins. It is a conflict of interest, endorsement of a certain brand and pressure for the patient to buy in order to feel better. There is a big market for supplements and vitamins, especially for diseases that have no known cure. So, is buying loads of vitamins going to make me better? Not necessarily- or we wouldn't be here talking about all aspects of this disease. Does the doctor selling vitamins receive money from the company, and will he/she say? Is the doctor making a profit over the sale of vitamins?

    The nurse: As a chemo nurse, I once received a patient for his first day of chemo, and as I asked if he was taking any kinds of supplements during the chemo (some can be contraindicated, synergystic with the chemo which can affect liver, kidneys or the kinetics of the chemo drugs) - the patient showed me his bad of supplements, he said he has a 1 month supply and that cost him 1000$. Somehow the patients looked for a cure for his cancer online and bought into the promise for a cure.

    We are a target to many supplement companies. We need to be aware of that. Doctors need to be doctors and focus on taking care of patients, not making a sale.
     

See more popular forum discussions.

Share This Page