Should acupuncturist sell patent herbal formulas – part I

Before you read this article you should be aware that the author opinion is formed on his experience in Portugal. The market practices might be slightly different were you live. If so I would appreciate some time of yours to explain the differences by placing comments to this article. As always I hope you can enjoy this article content.

Should an acupuncturist earn money by selling patent formulas of Chinese Materia Medica (herbal remedies)? Is it ethically correct? In general an acupuncturist (acupuncture professional) buys patent formulas (herbal remedies) at one price and sell them to the patient for that price plus an extra who pays shipping costs and a profit for the acupuncture professional.

A dishonest acupuncture practitioner worries primarily with profit, not necessarily with what is best for the patient. And it will not waste time with ethical considerations about the best practice from the sale of herbal remdies. A honest acupuncturist will have to raise the problem, and now and again, will have to confront it. I write these articles for the latter acupuncturist.

It can arise various problems in the current operating model. Firstly who assures us that an acupuncture professional will not sell a patent formula/herbal remedies, not by being the best for the patient, but only because he as a large stock of patent formulas that needs to sell? Secondly who assures us that the acupuncture practitioner does not prescribe only those patent formulas/herbal remedies which gives a higher percentage of profit?

In subsequent articles we will examine these two issues and raise new questions about this ethical problem.

Who can guarantee that an acupuncture professional will not sell a patent formula, not by being the best for the patient, but only because he as a large stock of patent formulas that needs to sell?

This problem arises from the fact that the acupuncture practitioner, or acupuncture/Chinese medicine clinic, have made a large purchase of patent formulas/herbal remedies in anticipation of their sale to patients. Many clinics do this due to some economic benefits that may arise, namely: (1) buying at a cheaper price per unit, which increases the rate of profit and (2) pay less for unit postage which also increases their rate of profit.

This obviously can lead to certain economical needs, particularly: (1) sell only those patent formulas to ensure quick return and offset the initial investment that was high and (2) sell the patent formulas before prescribing its expiration date in order to avoid losses. Obviously, these needs lead us back to the question with which we started this chapter.

We will see below that the removal of profit rates by the clinics or acupuncturists, can avoid part of the problem. Does not avoid however the problem of the expiration date of the herbal drugs. Even failing to gain profit the acupuncture professional does not want to prejudice. The pressure of not losing money can make an acupuncturist prescribe herbal drugs/patent formulas that might not be the best for the patient.

imagen taken from site

There is also an effective way of dealing with this dilemma: do not buy large stocks of patent formulas. I follow this model: I only buy a patent formula when I have a patient that need´s it. It has several advantages: (1) I do not have to make a large initial financial outlay to buy different patent formulas/natural drugs and (2) I do not have to worry about selling all patent formulas within its expiry date to avoid losing money.

Unfortunately, this solution is not free of their drawbacks. Indeed following this model does not allow us to provide immediately the patent formula that the patient needs, since we still need to order her. For me, this disadvantage largely compensates the risk of initial investment to buy the patent formula and the dilemma it puts me if I do not want to have prejudice with patent formulas whose expiration date is nearing its end.

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