It appears that Arizona makes it a little tricky for physicians thinking of marketing medical services. Not only must the physician himself avoid engaging in false, fraudulent, deceptive, or misleading advertising, he also must ensure his staff, employer, or representatives advertise in an appropriate manner. This might create additional risk for a surgeon who delegates his healthcare PR and marketing to a practice manager without proper oversight. As always, talking with your legal counsel is an essential step to make sure your advertising complies with relevant laws.
Arizona State Medical Board
A.R.S. § 32-1401(27)
27. “Unprofessional conduct” includes the following, whether occurring in this state or elsewhere: (…)
- (c) False, fraudulent, deceptive or misleading advertising by a doctor of medicine or the doctor’s staff, employer or representative. (…)
- (m) Representing that a manifestly incurable disease or infirmity can be permanently cured, or that any disease, ailment or infirmity can be cured by a secret method, procedure, treatment, medicine or device, if such is not the fact. (…)
- (mm) The representation by a doctor of medicine or the doctor’s staff, employer or representative that the doctor is boarded or board certified if this is not true or the standing is not current or without supplying the full name of the specific agency, organization or entity granting this standing.
Sample Best Practices
We’ve developed some sample best practices to help you get started discussing your medical marketing with your legal counsel in more detail. Find out if you need to take steps to avoid the following:
- Directly engaging in false, fraudulent, deceptive or misleading advertising, or allow these types of advertising by your staff, employer, or representatives.
- Claiming that an incurable disease can be cured, or that you have a secret treatment for a condition when this is not the case.
- Claiming you are board-certified if this is not true or your standing is not current.
- Saying you are board-certified without including in any advertising the name of the board that has certified yo
- Making scientific claims that cannot be substantiated.
- Claiming professional superiority without supporting the claim with objective evidence, or using hyperbole when describing your techniques or results.
- Showing patient before and after photos without indicating that results vary and the results shown are not a guarantee.
- Showing models without clearly indicating that the photos are not of actual patients.
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