Saturday, September 16, 2006


The Juice Plus Professional Support Program: Is Your Physician Deceiving You?

Some people have noted that their physicians have recommended Juice Plus but apparently were not involved in directly selling it, and that this lack of an obvious financial motive made the recommendation seem unbiased. What they did not know is that NSA has a program in place (the Juice Plus Professional Support Program) that allows physicians to secretly profit from Juice Plus without their patients' knowledge. MDs and other health professionals who participate in the program are encouraged to recommend Juice Plus to their patients and then refer them to a third-party distributor (a so-called “Wellness Coordinator”) to buy the product. The physician’s recommendation appears unbiased and not financially motivated, but what the patient doesn’t realize is that the referring physician receives revenue on the sale from NSA.

In describing why a healthcare professional would participate in the PSP, NSA states:
“Perhaps they work in a multi-physician practice where other Physician-partners are not involved in the Juice Plus business. Or perhaps they are simply not comfortable with being so directly involved with the ‘selling’ of Juice Plus to their patients, clients, customers or circle of influence.”

The MDs role is described as follows:
“The participant (the MD) personally introduces Juice Plus (using the attached suggested script as a guide) along with a Juice Plus audiotape and a personal endorsement letter. The audiotape is a health education lecture by a very credible and widely recognized medical doctor. It explains why we need to eat more F & V’s and shares the research documentation and benefits of taking Juice Plus. The Participant keeps audiotapes close at hand, in preparation of sharing them with receptive people.”

The participant script advises them to say the following: “I believe that Prevention is the best Medicine. The importance of eating a minimum of 5 to 9 servings of F & V’s is widely recognized. Sadly, most folks have a hard time actually doing it, including myself. Recently I ran across some research on a whole food supplement called Juice Plus. It is made from 17 different fruits and vegetables and my family and I are taking it. I’ve been recommending it to my patients. Would you be willing to listen to this tape? My Wellness Coordinator will call you in a few days to see if Juice Plus makes sense to you, too. Juice Plus is not available for sale at my office. You’ll be able to order it from my Wellness Coordinator.”

And lastly, the participants’ agreement stipulates:
“I agree to submit leads to my Professional Wellness Coordinator on a regular and timely basis. After receipt, leads should be forwarded within a 24 hour period. These leads will be generated through both my personal recommendation, as well as, the sharing of either an audio or video tape.”

So, MDs who participate in this program can pressure patients to take it, disguise their financial interest, have a wellness coordinator do all the hassling and high-pressure sales pitches to the leads provided, and then the MD makes at least 20 dollars on every unit sold.

The Professional Support Program is a deceptive practice which runs counter to American Medical Association guidelines on product endorsements. What should you do if your physician tries to sell it to you? Decline, express your disgust, report them to the AMA, and find a new physician.

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