When doctors go retail: is it okay to sell products?

I have no objection to people working hard and earning a good living. But why do I feel ever-so-slightly squirmy when those people are physicians selling their own products to us? Apparently, I’m not the only one squirming. Many critics are uncomfortable with even the potential conflict of interest that exists when physicians attempt to boost their income by pitching retail products to patients. Dr. David Fleming, for example, of the University of Missouri Medical School’s Ethics and Human Rights Committee, takes a dim view of docs who go into the retail business. Interviewed by The Observer, the journal of the American College of Physicians and the American Society of Internal Medicine, Dr. Fleming explained:

“Doctors should not be in the retail business. It’s a slippery slope, using your professional powers to drive your practice economically.”     Continue reading