Standards of practice

May 1, 2007

Derms debate ethics of in-office skincare product sales; AMA and AAD provide guidelines for in-office product sales; AAD grants seal of approval to sun products after full product application review

Key Points

National report - An increasing number of dermatologists are selling their own product lines - as well as other lines - in-office.

He believes such sales benefit the patient.

"There are a million rationalizations for doing this, but in the ultimate analysis, it's driven by avarice and nothing else," says A. Bernard Ackerman, M.D., director emeritus of the Ackerman Academy of Dermatopathology in New York, and a strong critic. "The patient is irrelevant in these shenanigans."

Debate continues within the dermatology community, with some, like Dr. Ackerman, saying the practice represents an inescapable conflict of interest. But other doctors have embraced the practice, and see no harm in the trend.

The AMA considers in-office dispensing a financial conflict of interest if the physician is selling products for profit.

For those who do sell products, the guidelines state:

AAD's position

The AAD, in its "Position Statement on Dispensing," says dermatologists should sell in-office "in a manner with the best interest of their patient as their highest priority, as it is in all other aspects of dermatologic practice," and that such dispensing is acceptable - but with several exceptions, including: