Q: Can physicians profit from in-office product sales (such as vitamins, nasal washes, and skin care products). The American Medical Association (AMA) seems to frown on this activity but I know many physicians who do it.
A: No rule exists prohibiting you from selling products in your office—generally. Prohibitions and regulations regarding specific products and devices are on the books, however. Obviously, if a product is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, you should not sell it in your office.
As you point out, the AMA does not support selling products, as stated in Ethics Opinion 8.062 available here: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/physician-resources/medical-ethics/code-medical-ethics/opinion8062.page.
If you are selling products in your office, I recommend reviewing the AMA's opinion in detail and/or consulting with your attorney to ensure that you are in compliance.
Answers to our readers questions were provided by Jennifer Kirschenbaum, JD, healthcare department manager for Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC, Garden City, New York.