Recently, I moved. So when my semi-annual cleaning time came around, I found a local dentist and set up an appointment.
What I thought would be a routine appointment was instead a hard sell for various dental products like whiteners and Invisalign.
These are not products I need. I was subjected to 6 years of braces and orthodontic contraptions in my teens. And my teeth were on the top spectrum of the whiteness chart.
Still that didn’t deter him from claiming my teeth could be straighter. They could be whiter.
Although this dentist’s sales tactics were about as subtle as a carnival hawker, there are plenty of other doctors that take a soft sell approach.
Consider the optometrist who stands to gain on the number of options you add to your glasses. Or the physician who co-owns a diagnostic center where you’re sent to have lab work done.
This isn’t necessarily a conflict of interest if your doctor considers his oath to medicine first and his business ventures second. But, even those in the medical profession themselves are conflicted about whether it’s ethical for a doctor to sell products.
The American Medical Association (AMA) ethics council once released a recommendation against the practice, but quickly retracted it after facing opposition from dermatologists, plastic surgeons, and ophthalmologists who say that their practices require the use of certain products. Further, these specialists claim that it’s important for them to be involved with the selection of products that their patients will use anyway in order to help navigate them towards the safest and most effective choices.
Chances are, your physician is merely trying to suggest a product that he or she trusts and thinks would benefit you. But if you are concerned about extensive testing or up-selling, get a second opinion.
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