Medical merchants: Conflict of interest, office product sales and notifiable conduct

Date of this Version


Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Published version

Parker, M. H., Wardle, J. L., Weir, M., & Stewart, C. L. (2011). Medical merchants: Conflict of interest, office product sales and notifiable conduct. Medical Journal of Australia, 194 (1), 34-37.

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2011 HERDC submission. FoR code: 180199

© Copyright Australasian Medical Publishing Company, 2011




Professional ethical codes indentify the issue of conflict of interest, which can distort doctors' objective judgements concerning the best interests of patients. Legal fiduciary duties may be owned by doctors to patients in situations of potential conflict of interest. Prescribing and dispensing functions have been largely legally separated to prevent conflicts of interest arising. The advent of integrative medicine has been accompanied by an apparent growth of in-house selling of therapeutic products. Medical merchandising constitutes a prima-facie conflict of interest and may amount to notifiable conduct under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law provisions. We believe that doctors who sell therapeutic products should adhere to strict conditions to avoid significantly departing from accepted professional standards. Doctors who have a reasonable belief that a colleague is failing to comply with these conditions could consider notifying the Medical Board of Australia.



This document has been peer reviewed.