Monday, December 20, 2010

Medical and Physician Marketing: Los Angeles Times Article On "Scrutiny Of Lap Band Enterprise Is Overdue"

On March 4, 2010, I posted an article regarding the Los Angeles Times' articles on Top Surgeons' marketing of lap bands entitled "L.A. Times Article On Lap Band Surgery Centers: What Other Legal And Consumer Issues Are Raised Here?"

The Los Angeles Times recently wrote another article on December 19, 2010 stating that "Scrutiny of Lap Band Enterprise Is Overdue." 

According to the L.A. Times, the 1-800-GET-THIN billboards which pepper the Los Angeles and Orange County freeways have caught the attention of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and it has asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to investigate the ad campaign.  Here is a link of the letter that was sent to the FDA

The referral to the FDA was probably made since the Medical Board does not have jurisdiction over advertising by non-physicians and there were some issues over who has jurisdiction over the surgery centers operated by non-physicians. The success of this type of marketing to patients comes with its pitfalls and level of scrutiny. 

For health care providers, this article is a reminder that they need to ensure that their advertising and referral arrangements with surgery centers and companies that advertise (on the Internet and elsewhere) comply with California and federal laws prohibiting false advertising and the giving of any consideration (money or other things of value) for the referral of a patient.

Should you have any questions regarding your own situation or this post, you can email physician attorney Tracy Green at Green and Associates is located in downtown Los Angeles, California and focuses their practice on the representation of licensed professionals, individuals and businesses in civil, business, administrative and criminal proceedings. They have a long-standing specialty in representing health care providers. Ms. Green is presently a member of the Board of Directors of the California Naturopathic Doctors Association. The firm website is:


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