South Dakota doctors are required to be very specific about the nature of their degree when marketing medical services. Saying “Dr. Smith offers dermal fillers” could get a practice in trouble – “Sarah Smith, M.D. offers dermal fillers” appears to be the right way to go. For a full legal review of your medical marketing, be sure to talk with an attorney who understands all laws that may be relevant to your practice.
South Dakota Board of Medical & Osteopathic Examiners
SDCL § 36-4-23 and SDCL § 36-4-30(5)
36-4-23. Advertising and printed material to show type of practice for which licensed– Violation as misdemeanor.
No person practicing any of the healing arts shall use the title “doctor” or any contraction thereof, in connection with his business or profession, or any written or printed material, or in connection with any advertising, unless he add after his name the recognized abbreviation or specification of the branch of the healing art in which he is licensed to practice and is engaged. A violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
36-4-30. Acts considered unprofessional conduct–Criminal prosecution. The term, unprofessional or dishonorable conduct, as used in this chapter includes: (…)
- (5) All advertising of medical business in which untruthful or improbable statements are made or which are calculated to mislead or deceive the public
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:
- Making untruthful or improbable statements.
- Advertising that you are a doctor without including after your name the recognized abbreviation or specification of the branch of the healing art in which you are licensed to practice and engaged (for example, MD or DDS).
- Making scientific claims that cannot be substantiated.
- Assuring a permanent cure for an incurable disease.
- 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.
- Saying you are board-certified without including in any advertising the name of the board that has certified you.
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