In this economy, investing in advertising as a way to increase profits is an attractive idea. But, before you reach out to a marketing firm, let me tell you about a recent scenario that happened to one of my physician clients.
Explore this issue:December 2010
Dr. M (name concealed for anonymity) recently decided to undertake marketing efforts in an attempt to increase his patient base and enhance business. As part of these marketing activities, Dr. M retained the services of an advertising agency to develop a campaign that would appear in newspapers. When Dr. M excitedly mentioned this new venture to me as a side note in conversation, I was immediately concerned. Advertising executives are experts in creative marketing, not in the law. I urged Dr. M to have me review the advertisements before they were published to ensure that none were in violation of applicable state and federal laws.
Advertisements by physicians are legal under the Federal Trade Commission Act, provided such advertisements are not false, deceptive or misleading. The following are general rules of thumb that may be used to determine whether an advertisement is truthful and, thus, not false, deceptive or misleading: