5 Ways to Minimize Conflict of Interest When Prescribing Supplements

by Victoria Rooke

victoria rooke fullscript

Dietary supplements can be very valuable for patient care, however there may be conflicting factors that arise when prescribing to patients.

Conflicting factors (for the purpose of this article) are defined as bias-inducing influences such as personal relationships, marketing, advertising, preconceived notions, and financial compensation related to supplement recommendations.

Though these conflicting factors may arise, you can still use supplements in your patient’s treatment plans without compromising your professional ethics or bringing conflict into your decision process.


The following are some tips on how to minimize these conflicts while still providing the best recommendations to your patients:

1. Consult your college

Seek out the code of ethics published by your college or speak to a representative to understand the rights and responsibilities for your designation and jurisdiction. Ask about any restrictions there may be on carrying inventory, marking up dietary supplements, or limits on earning revenue from product sales.

2. Disclose or remove your financial interest

Financial gain on a patient’s protocol can be viewed as a significant conflicting factor associated with maintaining a supplement dispensary. Disclosing financial interest to your patients is a positive step which can provide peace of mind for both parties. If this is a concern when using Fullscript, you can completely remove your financial gain by using a no profit account.

3. Remove yourself from managing supplement inventory

Whether you get staff to handle inventory or you manage it personally, separating yourself from inventory decisions can limit the impact of conflicting factors like expiring inventory, restocking schedules, pricing, or purchasing. With Fullscript, you never have to choose which products to stock. Since you’re not the one stocking inventory, it’s Fullscript’s role to ensure you have plenty of options available at your fingertips that fit your clinical needs. If you don’t feel like we have what you need, just reach out to our support team and make a request. All requests are logged and categorized so we can make sure the catalogue fits our practitioners’ needs.

4. Dedicate time to product discovery

If you manage a physical dispensary with a limited stock of products, it’s likely you will sometimes stick with the same protocol and the same products because it’s in your inventory and you’ve used it before. Research is changing all of the time, and new products are regularly released by companies, so it’s important to make product discovery a priority in your practice. There are lots of resources available for clinical updates, including: continuing education resources, going to conferences, reading research, or perusing supplier educational resources. Expanding your access to a variety of products can become an advantage in developing ideal treatment plans for your patients.

5. Use a variety of unbiased research sources

Always use a critical eye when you are researching ingredients and make sure to evaluate the source of the information that you read before immediately adopting it in practice.  We’ve curated a list of resources that have shown to significantly limit bias while providing robust information about dietary supplements.