Results of consultation on commerce-related practice standards

The College recently sought feedback from the public and the profession on three practice standards related to commerce and medicine: Sale and Dispensing of Drugs by Physicians, Promotion and Sale of Products and Devices, and Conflict of Interest. Consultation results will be used to help guide further revisions to the standards.

Sale and Dispensing of Drugs and Promotion and Sale of Products and Devices

The Sale and Dispensing of Drugs and Promotion and Sale of Products and Devices practice standards underwent two consultations. The first consultation, held October 11 to November 2, 2018, received input from 121 physicians and 24 members of the public. Feedback indicated that both practice standards were generally viewed as being appropriate, comprehensive, and protective of patient safety; however, further clarity was requested for certain practice circumstances. The standards were revised to be more explicit in regards to their application in various areas of practice and to have a greater focus on transparency. Feedback from participants in the final consultation in December 2018 indicated that further revisions would be helpful to clarify requirements for selling and dispensing of natural health products and cosmetic drugs that are not available from retail pharmacies, and for entering drug information into PharmaCare.

Conflict of Interest

The revised Conflict of Interest practice standard was sent out for consultation from January 15 to 31, 2019, and 109 physicians and 54 members of the public participated. Key themes from physician feedback included the need for specific examples, more information regarding the process of reporting a conflict of interest, and increased clarity on fee-splitting and leasing arrangements in practices that adopt a patient-medical home model. The overarching theme elicited from the public consultation was the request from patients for their physician to be up front, and to disclose any professional or financial affiliations they may have.

Next steps

The results from the above consultations will be considered by the Patient Relations, Professional Standards and Ethics Committee at its next meeting. Following the committee meeting, the revised standards will be presented to the Board for endorsement in March. The College thanks all those who participated in the revision process.