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Marketing in aesthetic medicine: An analysis of applied practices under applicable law and the Code of Medical Ethics

Barbara Potempa, Agnieszka Zabiegala, Radoslaw Spiewak

Recommended citation format: Potempa B, Zabiegala A, Spiewak R: Reklama w medycynie estetycznej: Analiza stosowanych praktyk w swietle obowiazującego prawa i Kodeksu Etyki Lekarskiej. Estetol Med Kosmetol 2012; 2 (4): 104-109.


The use of marketing strategies by Polish doctors and medical companies active in the field of aesthetic medicine is limited by the Physician's and Dentist's Profession Act, Health Care Provider Act, Resolutions of the Supreme Medical Council, and the Code of Medical Ethics. The aim of this study was to analyze and describe marketing strategies used for promoting services of aesthetic medicine, aesthetic dermatology and aesthetic surgery in the light of legal Acts in force, as well as the Code of Medical Ethics. Material and methods: The analysis covered a total of 89 medical facilities delivering services of aesthetic medicine, aesthetic dermatology or aesthetic surgery located in two southern-Polish Voivodeships: Malopolska (45 facilities identified) and Slask (44). The analysis included information published via Internet sites, as well as information boards and billboards located on the buildings housing the facilities, or on nearby roads and driveways. They were analysed with regard to the presence of contents characteristic of a commercial advertisement. Results: At least one case of misconduct was found in advertisements published by 98.9% of analysed facilities, including 98.8% of Internet pages and 96.6% billboards. Only 10.1% of all facilities in aesthetic medicine, aesthetic dermatology or aesthetic surgery displayed their information on an information board that was in accordance with the resolution of the Polish Supreme Medical Council. The most common forms of misconduct included the use of trade names of products used in the offered treatments (76.4% of establishments used this marketing technique), and announcing promotional actions and discounts (75.3%). More than a half of the analysed facilities used advertising slogans in their marketing, as well as bragged about the equipment they use. Less frequently used marketing strategies included advertising on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ (48.3%), selling gift cards (35.9%), referring to recommendations by celebrities (7.9%), as well as marketing their services via Groupon or similar deal-of-the-day websites (5.6%). Of all analysed facilities, 6.7% misleadingly used the word "clinic" (Polish: "klinika") in their names, which in Poland is legally restricted only to teaching hospitals or medical research facilities. Conclusion: Practicing doctors and medical companies offering services of aesthetic medicine, aesthetic dermatology or aesthetic surgery notoriously use marketing techniques not permitted for medical services under current Polish law and the Code of Medical Ethics.

Keywords: advertisement, marketing, medical services, aesthetic medicine, aesthetic dermatology, aesthetic surgery, legal regulations, medical ethics

| Reprint (PDF) | Streszczenie | DOI: 10.14320/EMK.2012.022

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Portal służy udostępnianiu elektronicznej wersji czasopisma Estetologia Medyczna i Kosmetologia
Open Access, online ISSN 2084-2007; print ISSN 2084-199X, DOI:
Wydawca udziela zgody na korzystanie z tego serwisu wyłącznie pod warunkiem akceptacji regulaminu korzystania z serwisu oraz respektowania praw autorskich
© Radosław Śpiewak Instytut Dermatologii (kontakt)
Document created: 5 December 2012, last updated: 9 October 2013