Ethical Retailing for Healthcare Providers

Written By Laura Allen, VP of Sales & Marketing on April 5, 2019

CryoDerm products are used and recommended by physicians, chiropractors, physical therapists, massage therapists, podiatrists, and athletic trainers, many of whom retail to their patients and clients. We appreciate our partners who make our products available; we appreciate the fact that so many licensed healthcare providers are part of the CryoDerm family. 

Some healthcare providers may be hesitant to retail products, fearing that it is a conflict of interest to sell products that they use and recommend. In reality, there's a line between retailing in an ethical manner, and retailing in an unethical manner. When you believe in the efficacy of any non-prescription product, no matter what it is, and you are using it in your practice to the benefit of your patients, it's a convenience to them to be able to purchase it without having to go all over town looking for it, or wait for it to arrive through the mail or the delivery service. Ethically, there is a difference in recommending something, and telling anyone that they need to purchase something you're selling. 

I retailed in my own clinic for the thirteen years that I owned it, and I've also been teaching professional ethics for almost 20 years. My clinic included a chiropractor, an acupuncturist, a naturopath, a registered nurse trained in aesthetics, and several massage therapists. My staff members were forbidden to try to sell anything to anybody. They didn't get any commissions for selling anything to anybody.

We retailed the items that we actually used in client sessions. If a client inquired about the possibility of buying something we were using in session, whether that was a topical pain-relief preparation, a heated neck pillow or ice pack, or the massage cream we were using, we had the policy of saying "Yes, we have that available in the lobby, and I'll be glad to show it to you when your session is over." We didn't take up the time that should be spent on their treatment in trying to make a sale. All the products we offered were on display in the lobby, and anytime someone asked about something, we were happy to talk about it--and sell it to them--if they expressed and interest in it and wanted to buy it

High-pressure sales tactics are best left to people who are not licensed healthcare providers. Your patient may simply not be able to afford something that isn't covered by their insurance, and they shouldn't feel pressured into buying something, no matter what the reason, or how good you think it is for them. Retailing is not the primary reason any healthcare provider is in business, but it can be a nice secondary source of income, and there's no reason to avoid it as long as it's handled in an ethical manner.