The Risks of Recommending Nutritional Supplements
It’s not uncommon for fitness professionals to make dietary supplements available for sale to their clients. Dietetics professionals have guidelines for the recommendation and sale of these supplements, but other types of wellness and exercise practitioners may not have thought through their legal liabilities when it comes to selling these products.
According to Medical Economics, the primary legal liability exposure you face from selling these products comes from your professional recommendation. If a product is unsuitable for a client, you could be accused of professional negligence, whereas the product manufacturer would be the focus of any product liability litigation.
Their advice is aimed at medical professionals, but it can be extended to anyone in a position to provide supplements. They recommend that you make sure you familiarize yourself with the product ingredients, warning labels, test results and advertising claims–basically, do your due diligence before you decide what products you may want to sell.
A quick review of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics guidelines will show you that there are numerous considerations that food and nutrition professionals take into account when deciding to recommend or sell dietary supplements. They include:
- A complete assessment of the client’s diet and current dietary supplement use.
- Detailed review of the scientific literature about each nutritional supplement.
- Consideration of the client’s diet and how the nutrition supplement(s) would complement it.
- Client safety.
- Reporting of adverse reactions to the FDA.
- Careful documentation of nutritional supplement recommendations in the client’s records.
- Assumption of responsibility and accountability for product recommendations.
- Disclosure of financial relationships with manufacturers or suppliers.
- Ethical and factual marketing.
- Maintaining current knowledge about dietary supplement regulations.
- Understanding the legal issues pertaining to recommending and selling nutritional supplements.
- Following sound business practices for the sale of the nutritional supplements.
As you can see, there is a lot more to deciding whether or not to recommend and sell nutritional supplements than you might have thought. Make your choices carefully and always take your professional liability into account when you’re providing advice and recommendations.
Thank you so much for your prompt response. Might I add, Veronica was a delight to work with and her professionalism and attention to detail made this an overall pleasurable experience.