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Multi-Level Marketing

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by DocBR, Mar 4, 2007.

  1. DocBR

    DocBR MS-3 5+ Year Member

    Jan 20, 2007
    Is multi-level marketing illegal for a physician/PA/Nurse Practitioner to engage in with clients?

    My girlfriend went to a new nurse practitioner at her usual gynecologist's office who gave her packets of information and trial size herbs/vitamins, then she strongly recommended my girlfriend to purchase over 100$ worth of specific products. She had to carry it out inside of a trial prescription case and was told not to talk about it because the NP was unsure how the physician would feel about it.

    I looked into the company (Amazon Herb Co.) and it turns out it is a multi-level marketing business and this NP will get commission if my girlfriend were to purchase these products that the NP recommended. Furthermore, the NP talked about this stuff for 15+ minutes, never once mentioning that she has a financial interest in the sale of this stuff.

    How is this not illegal? Or at the very least in violation of professional standards?
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  3. 91Bravo

    91Bravo Frank Netter's Love Child 7+ Year Member

    Oct 17, 2002
    That's pretty damn unethical.
  4. Anka

    Anka Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 18, 2003
    Given that the NP is working under the supervision of an MD (and must), it is irregular that she is telling her patients not to tell the physician. I'd probably complain to the MD/DO on those grounds alone.

  5. MattD

    MattD Curmudgeon 7+ Year Member

    Oct 9, 2003
    This is unethical behavior, and is in fact dangerous if the nurse is secretly recommending supplements without the physician's knowledge. If the behavior were harmless my inclination would be to say something to the nurse about the ethics but otherwise leave it be. This, to me, doesn't sound harmless, as the NP is a.) recommending "drugs" to a patient outside of the physician's knowledge and b.) is abusing the patient's trust to make a profit. Can you just imagine the naive senior citizen who spends a ton of money (that he/she doesn't have) on this stuff, gets sick because he doesn't use it right or it interacts negatively with prescribed meds, and is in a bad place financially because of the money he spent on these 'miracle herbs'? I'd contact the doc and let him know what was going on, as well as making a phone call to the nurse's licensing board.

    If the multi-level marketing scheme were selling timeshares or something, it would be bad business for the doc, and you'd be doing him a favor to tell him, but this is a nurse using her POWER over a patient to sell PHARMACEUTICAL type products. That actually is probably a direct violation of codified medical ethics, like the kind of thing a physician could get censured or a license revoked for. I'd make a phone call.
  6. mjl1717

    mjl1717 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    May 24, 2003
    beside the legal, ethical, and the mistrust implications... its just plain SNEAKY

    Its just not that kind of field! Geez Id say if someone wants to be a "sneaky teaky" Do law and fit in!!
  7. peppy

    peppy Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Wow, I can't believe that NP tried to pull that. I'd definitely tell the doc what's going on!
  8. BellyDancingDoc

    BellyDancingDoc Rump Shaker 5+ Year Member

    Mar 13, 2006

    The bolded part should give you your answer. If the physician might not feel good about something his/her NP is doing, then the physician should be told immediately.
  9. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Exactly. The fact that she doesn't want your girlfriend to tell the physician about it also implies that she knows she shouldn't be doing it.
  10. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    God, I hate comments like this. Why do you feel the need to sneak in insults about lawyers in practically every one of your posts? Is this thread about lawyers? No!! Save your ignorant, simplistic insults for thread where they're maybe at least somewhat relevant. :thumbdown:

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