Healthcare PR and marketing appears to be governed by few laws in Utah where, like many other states, physicians must not engage in false, misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent communication. The intent of the practitioner doesn’t appear to enter into the determination of whether the law was broken, so even the most upstanding Utah physicians should be particularly careful about the “honest mistake.” As always, be sure to discuss your marketing plans and have your marketing materials reviewed by legal counsel to make sure your practice is complying with all relevant laws.
Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing
U.C.A. 1953 § 58-1-501
Unlawful and unprofessional conduct
(2) “Unprofessional conduct” means conduct, by a licensee or applicant, that is defined as unprofessional conduct under this title or under any rule adopted under this title and includes: (…)
- (h) practicing or attempting to practice an occupation or profession requiring licensure under this title by any form of action or communication which is false, misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent
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:
- Engaging in false, misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent advertising.
- 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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