Methods: Chiropractic Web sites in Alberta were identified using the publically available Web site of the Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors. A random sample of chiropractors was drawn and mailed a brief 4-page survey and return envelope. There was a follow-up mail out to nonrespondents 3 weeks later. Practitioners provided responses regarding their personal and professional characteristics and their perspectives and practices regarding health product sales.
Results: A total of 265 responses were received (response rate, 51.2%). Most practitioners endorsed health product sales by chiropractors (95%), and most were engaged in the practice (89%). Orthotics (77%) and pillows (69%) were sold most often, followed by nutritional supplements (68%), hot/cold packs (68%), and vitamins (52%). Some respondents identified areas of potential ethical concern, including product safety and efficacy, professional influence on consumer product purchase, and potential conflict of interest. Codes of ethics and conduct offer some guidance to practitioners, but their awareness of standards varied.
Conclusions: The chiropractic profession within Alberta condones product sales, and most of its membership engages in the practice. Individual members differ in their perspectives on this practice and in their awareness of the national code of ethics and conduct.
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