Methods: Chiropractic Web sites in Canada were identified using a public online business directory (Canada 411). The Web sites were searched, and an inventory of the health products for sale was taken. The influences of type of practice and province of practice on the sale of health product were assessed. Textual comments about health product marketing were summarized. National and provincial codes of ethics were reviewed, and the content on health product advertising was summarized.
Results: Two hundred eighty-seven Web sites were reviewed. Just more than half of the Web sites contained information on health products for sale (n = 158, 54%). Orthotics were advertised most often (n = 136 practices, 47%), followed by vitamins/nutritional supplements (n = 53, 18%), pillows and supports (n = 40, 14%), and exercise/rehabilitation products (n = 20, 7%). Chiropractors in solo or group chiropractic practices were less likely to advertise health products than those in multidisciplinary practice (P < .001), whereas chiropractors in BC were less likely to advertise nutritional supplements (P < .01). Provincial codes of ethics and conduct varied in their guidelines regarding health product sales.
Conclusions: Variations in codes of ethics and in the proportions of practitioners advertising health products for sales across the country suggest that opinions may be divided on the acceptability of health product sales. Such practices raise questions and considerations for the chiropractic profession.
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