Ethics and MLM from a Practitioner’s perspective.
I am writing this post in response to a number of you who have specifically asked my view on how as a Naturopath/ Health Practitioner I deal with other people’s perceptions and belief systems around the ethics of incorporating the doTERRA oils and products into my practice.
So, when this issue arrives for you, just know that its mostly because of judgement that is cemented in a personal belief or perception.
“That it is unethical as a health professional and contradictory to our professional association codes of conduct to be promoting or receiving financial reward from a multi-level marketing company’s products in a clinical environment”
From my perspective, it is simply someone’s belief, and not truth. Built into such a belief is the perception that the client is being exploited simply because of the business structure of the company and secondly that the client has no choice in their involvement.
So, please allow me to share some of my own personal thoughts on this topic.
- Practice with integrity and in full collaboration with my client
- Encourage open communication and full participation in decisions about treatment recommendations;
- Respect every patient’s right to accept or reject advice and to make decisions about treatment recommendations at all times.
- Provide full disclosure when referring the patient to services in which a direct financial interest is held.
- Place professional duties and responsibilities to the patient above the commercial interests of the practice – patient needs come first
- Practise according to the principle of informed consent.
Informed Consent the patient’s right of self- decision can only be effectively exercised if they possess enough information to enable an informed choice. The practitioner’s obligation is to present facts accurately to the patient and make recommendations in accordance with good professional practice. The practitioner has an ethical obligation to assist the patient to make choices from among therapeutic alternatives consistent with good practice.
So, here is my take on it…. as practitioners, we benefit financially from any prescription we give. In fact there are many practitioners who make more money on selling their supplements than their service. Sad, but true.
So, what we have with doTERRA is a company that has recognised the need for bringing powerful solutions for health and low-tox living into every home across the globe… They are doing this by bringing us the most pure and therapeutic product of its kind. It’s available at wholesale prices to those who sees value in this option of home-care.
It also offers support, community, education, connection, charitable and humanitarian efforts. This is only achieved through the company structure as a network marketing business.
Do I prescribe the doTERRA products to my clients? No. Am I transparent? Yes.
I simply offer them an empowering tool to become less dependent on me as a practitioner, something they can reach out to for support. And if they are actually interested in sharing their own experiences with others, then I talk them through the opportunities available to them to earn points or $$ to pay for their own oil use etc.
This is what a typical discussion in my clinic sounds like about the oils:
Me: Hey Jane, did that sample oil help? J: Yes, I love it – I would like to get some more – do you have a bottle I can buy? Me: Yes I do, but if you think you might be buying more of it, then you can set up a w/sale account and get 25% off the Rrp. Would you like to know about it? J: Yes, please.
Me: Ok, so you know doTERRA sells oils through WAs like me, which makes it a Network Marketing company? That means I will receive some financial benefit when you get wsale account and every time you place an order. Are you ok with the concept? J: Yes, but do I have to order on a regular basis? Me: Nope – you can order as you need to.
Me: But just so you know, the company offers a Loyalty rewards program for those who order regularly – you get points for purchases and for the shipping cost when you order over a specific amount. You can redeem these points for Free products. Do you want to know more or shall we talk about the LRP and the other benefits to you next time? ……..
Can you see how this hands the power over to the client? I do not sell them anything.
Personally, I believe this is a way for my clients to gain some empowerment back into their lives and gain greater health and overall well-being through it.
Please feel free to share this with the many practitioners and students of natural health who might be faced with this little concern.
I hope it helps.