Can a doctor advertise?

Wojtek Petlic

What is allowed to a doctor? Can you have your own brand of supplements and thus promote it on your practice's website? What kind of content on Instagram can you post? §Can a doctor advertise?

It should be noted that the legislator refers to the prohibition of advertising in a very general way. Article 63 of the Code of Medical Ethics indicates only that a doctor can form his professional opinion only on the basis of the results of his work, so any advertising is prohibited.  

Importantly, Article 14(1) of the Law on Medical Activity states that: A healthcare provider shall make public information on the scope and types of healthcare services provided. The content and form of this information must not have the characteristics of advertising".

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It should be noted here that we distinguish between indirect and direct advertising, which is prohibited by the KEL and by the Law on Medical Activities.

Indirect advertising it is used in messages to potential customers the procedure of using a distinctive sign, which is a symbol of a specific product, to distinguish another good, service, enterprise or specific activity;

Direct advertising its purpose is to draw attention to specific services or goods and, consequently, to induce the potential recipient of the advertisement to use such service or purchase the goods,

The Supreme Medical Council vs. advertising

The Supreme Medical Council has tried to dispel doubts about permitted advertising in Resolution No. 29/11/VI of December 16, 2011 on detailed rules for making public information about the provision of health services by physicians and dentists.

NRL indicated that the following data may be made public:professional title, first and last name,place, days and hours of admissions,type of professional practice performed,degree, scientific title,specialization,skills in narrower fields of medicine or the provision of specific health services, special authorizations,telephone number,determination of prices and method of payment in the case of providing this information by posting it on the website of the professional practice or through special information telephones.

Please note that this information may be provided only through:no more than 2 permanent billboards outside the building in which the practice is carried out and, in addition, no more than 2 billboards along the access roads to the practice premises;newspaper advertisements in the sections on medical services;information contained in telephone directories and guides on medical services in the section on medical services;posting of information on websites;special information telephones;

According to the Resolution, such information may not bear the characteristics of advertising, and in particular may not include:  any form of inducement or attempt to induce the use of health services;information about methods, their effectiveness and treatment time, as well as promises and colloquial terms;specifying prices and payment methods, except for specifying prices and payment methods when providing this information by posting it on the professional practice's website or through special information telephones;information about the quality of medical equipment. Advertising by doctors is a topic that is often widely discussed, and it is very important to know what you can afford.

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§Can a doctor advertise? What to pay attention to when advertising doctors? We hope we have answered some important questions.