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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » Anyone else uncomfortable with Lyme docs selling supplements?

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Author Topic: Anyone else uncomfortable with Lyme docs selling supplements?
mjo
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Is there any scientific basis for the "energetic testing" of supplements?

That's how my Lyme doc writes for and sells what I'd call "prescriptive supplements."

I find myself doubting, especially since the first $200 worth of supplements did not work and made me more miserable, each and every one of them.

Now comes another $200.

What to think?

Does every LLMD sell and make money on supplements these days?

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randibear
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I have no problem as long as they are reputable products. however most drs charge at least two or three times what you can pay somewhere else.

I jus say no I'm on a budget.

one naturo tried to sell me 500 bucks of supplements and keep my mastercard on file and charge monthly. I ran away as fast as I could.

since having lyme, I've learned to say no way....

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do not look back when the only course is forward

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Lymetoo
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You never have to buy anything from a doctor. Just say no.

If there is no option, move on.

--------------------
--Lymetutu--
Opinions, not medical advice!

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MichaelTampa
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I am not uncomfortable. I have also never felt pressured. I have ran across one or two that selled very inexpensively ... and then others that I knew were making a lot from sales of supplements.

Like any doc for any reason, there needs to be some match of what they recommend with what makes sense to you.

If they are just someone you are visiting to see if they have any helpful hints or ideas to work into your protocol, that is one thing. But if you are relying on them to meet a specific objective, and part of that strategy does not make sense to you (or you cannot afford it), it is good to understand what they anticipate the results to be if you do not follow it completely.

If for some reason you do not trust their recommendations, then be honest with yourself regarding what you are trying to get from the relationship.

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mjo
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Hey MichaelT. Appreciate your input!

Good to try to align one's income and the outcome one wishes for! Will definitely think about this.

Lymetoo, how'd you know "No!" is a problem for me?

Just looked up all the prices for the last two batches of supplements. Found variables of $3 to $10 more than online prices, although many comparisons were right in line.

Maybe $3 to $10 isn't so much when it comes to convenience vs. paying shipping?

But then this doc charges taxes on the supplements. Don't remember tax on supps on line.

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randibear
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check amazon. and if you belong to prime, its free one day shipping.

--------------------
do not look back when the only course is forward

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paleogal
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I usually buy a supplement the first time from the doctor so I know I'm taking exactly what they want me to. Once I have it in hand, if it helps me, I find a cheaper source - either a different company with the same ingredients, or wholesale websites.

Last time at the doc I asked how much something cost and the person checking me out even looked it up online in front of me and said "oh, you could save a couple bucks buying it at Pro..something next time". It felt like they were being honest and were just trying to make sure I got the supps they thought I should try.

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Keebler
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The amount that practitioners are allowed to sell supplements is set. It will not go higher than the MSRP which is usually higher than the cost itself. This is true with any item bought anywhere in any store.

There are some websites that can buy certain supplements in bulk so then can offer the customer lower prices.

and some brands may be less expensive than the one suggested by the doctor. But not all brands are equal so there is a lot of homework to do.

In fact, there is always homework to do with any purchase to be sure the source is "clean" and that the workers are all paid fair wages, etc. There are many steps involved in the land preparation, growing, tending, harvesting and processing of plant materials.

And the human labor costs matter, too.

I've known many NDs who offer supplements in their office to give me their price, or a reduced price and - very often - even give me some free items.

As well, those I've worked with have also told me the best places to find supplements that are of good quality at better prices - usually for some they may not carry.

Also keep in mind that many practitioners try to keep their office visits within reach of most patients and the retail price they sell the products at offer them a little bit of "reward" for paying for all those up front so that the convenience is there for patients to same the time and hassle.

Still, with any such practitioner, every GOOD one will be happy to just write down for you the ones suggested and then you can buy elsewhere.

When I've simply said "my budget just forces me to get the best price I can" they are very accommodating.

I do recall, however, an MD who first introduced me to Pycnogenol (the very brand name one) that had just come to market and was very expensive. Though, he sold it at the MSRP, I could easily find the exact thing elsewhere at cost from an ND in town.

That first doctor was all huffy-puffy to find out I did very well with it and wanted to continue it but would not be buying it from him.
-

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Lymetoo
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quote:
Originally posted by mjo:

[QB]

Lymetoo, how'd you know "No!" is a problem for me?


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[Big Grin] Because you wouldn't have posted this if you knew how to say NO. [Big Grin]

Sometimes, the things they offer are really good and sometimes not so necessary. I usually chose to buy mine online to save money. Sometimes I would buy a few special ones from my LLMD (or GP) if I knew the price was right and the product was good.

--------------------
--Lymetutu--
Opinions, not medical advice!

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mjo
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Appreciate more input from all of you!

Just tried to find out what the average markup on supplements sold by physicians would be and really came up empty-handed!

Is it a big secret? Needs a better researcher than I am I guess. Certainly there are many variables among providers and variables for each provider's offerings as Keebler points out.

Did find out that the percentage of those docs, chiros, NDs, etc who do sell is steadily rising.

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Keebler
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Look on your bottle to find the manufacturer contact detail.

Go to the exact product and find the manufacturer's website. They may be able to help you determine the MSRP - that is the

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price, that's the key term and the price that should be the top price offered the patient.

Practitioners often get products for 2/3, even sometimes half that. Remember, they buy in quality and have to pay for it all up front and have a lot of money tied up on their shelves.

If you find the price offered to you is more than the MSRP, talk to someone at the actual manufacturer's company.
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[ 03-02-2017, 06:32 PM: Message edited by: Keebler ]

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Keebler
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Q: "Did find out that the percentage of those docs, chiros, NDs, etc who do sell is steadily rising."

the percentage may or may not be rising as those whom you see just might be different than the regular kinds of doctors, perhaps.

For 25 years, I can only think of a few I've seen who did not offer products through their office.

If more might now, it could be due to the higher rate of counterfeit products in the marketplace or increase in lesser quality products and doctors want a way to be sure their patients can have the best source.

It's really a service to have the office do all the research to be sure the product they suggest / have on hand is of good quality.

I've never been anywhere where the products are forced, though. Some custom made items, of course, may not be found elsewhere but then the cost for such formulas is also taking into account the thinking and patient interview to put that together.

For some items, ask for a sample to see if it will work for you. I've gotten dozens of samples from various NDs over the years.

And many will also take back, and refund, a product that might have not reacted well for me if I return a nearly full bottle [they cannot resell it but they those who do this are more concerned with what works for the patient].

I only recall needed to do that a time or two. Ask up front if you have questions as to if something will be okay for you and if they have a return / exchange policy. Some may not be able to do so if the are too much in debt, though.
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nefferdun
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I agree. Just say no before you go broke. The visits are expensive enough just to get the abx. If you are trying to get by with naturals, then just order online.

One Natro I went to sent me home with a grocery bag full of supplements that she charged me $1000 for. The next month a box arrived and on my credit care I was charged another $1000. I sent the box back.

She did the testing and included something I was allergic to. I am well now (or found my new normal) and looking back I do not believe any of those supplement did much good except for two I found online myself.

I used liposomal EDTA, which helps to break down biofilm and binds with heavy metals. And I took prickly pear cactus to bind with fat when I was getting rid of the Fry bug (which seems to be gone).

The only supplement I am using now is cold water kelp because it is supposed to break down biofilm. Supposedly you do not get plaque on your teeth.

I will let everyone knows if my next trip to the dentist for cleaning is a lot easier. I started it because of my cats though - not because of me.

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old joke: idiopathic means the patient is pathological and the the doctor is an idiot

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Keebler
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Also consider that for many brand items, there may be many equally good brands / products that are not so "designer" in nature or marketing intention.

And many herbs can cover a lot of bases, same with many nutrients. Chlorella, for example has lots of great nutrients rolled right into.
-

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Haley
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Interesting that this post should be here. I just returned from my doctors office and felt very pressured to buy supplements.

I have been with my doctor since 2009. He's incredibly bright and he has his own line of supplements. The ones he has suggested have helped me so I trust his product line.

Today my doctor was not there. I'm extremely sick and need medicine. The nurse practitioner did not give me a prescription for medicine but when I left there was a bag of supplements there for me. I had told her that the supplements will not work for this very severe infection. I felt pressured to buy them , it was inappropriate the way it was done.

I now want to return them.

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Tincup
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Haley said... "I now want to return them."

Do it. That was unfair. Don't let anyone take advantage of you, especially when you are feeling so poorly.

You can tell them I said to return them and don't do that again!

--------------------
www.TreatTheBite.com
www.DrJonesKids.org
www.MarylandLyme.org
www.LymeDoc.org

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Tincup
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The few docs I've had (good ones) had products in their office for patients since we are in an area with few health food stores and to help save them money.

ALL were less than 1/3 to 1/2 of the minimum price I could buy elsewhere. If anything the docs were losing money providing them to their patients.

--------------------
www.TreatTheBite.com
www.DrJonesKids.org
www.MarylandLyme.org
www.LymeDoc.org

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Lymetoo
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Take it back, Haley .. for sure.

--------------------
--Lymetutu--
Opinions, not medical advice!

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randibear
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back to the dr. I did.

my office visit is 75 and that's after insurance.

--------------------
do not look back when the only course is forward

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Haley
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Thanks Guys. I will. One of the products given was Ashoka, I decided to give that one a try because I have no idea if it works or not.

Has anyone used this?

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Robin123
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I've had a couple Lyme doctor offices sell supplements and it seems to be ok - ie respecting the prices and the quality of what they're selling.

What I personally do not care for is the energetic testing that you mentioned above. I have experienced like chiropractors literally shoving my arm down with great force and announcing to me I thus need the supplement, since I showed "weakness." I would call that being a charlatan.

I want to know that my doctor wants me to take a supplement for medical reasons rather than push on my arm.

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mjo
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Robin. Thanks!

You wrote what I have been thinking and wondering about!

Perhaps it's not the selling of supplements so much as the way they were decided upon with "energetic testing."

Even though I try to be open to it, I find myself doubting, especially after the first $200 worth didn't work.

Since we're all different and our needs are unique, prescriptions from our docs are written with (One should hope!) best guesses based on our symptoms and their current knowledge and their past experience with previous patients. That's really all we can ask for, right?

Usually reasons are given for medications. Is it too much to ask that reason be included in "prescriptive supplements"?

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WPinVA
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I'm actually pretty open to energetic testing but my understanding is that a lot depends on the skill of the practitioner. I'm also a lot more openminded than I used to be. I would have thought it was witchcraft 5 years ago.

I have now seen so many reputable docs who sell supplements that it doesn't bother me anymore. You shouldn't feel pressured though!

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Catgirl
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Consider learning to muscle test. It's one of the best things I've ever learned. I don't know how people get better without it. You might want to find someone who can teach you. There are you tubes on it as well.

I don't know of a scientific explanation for muscle or energy testing, but we are energy beings and our bodies know what they want and what they don't want and show us through energetic testing. Once you learn it then you can decipher which supplements will work for you. It actually saves money to know which ones will work.

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--Keep an open mind about everything. Also, remember to visit ACTIVISM (we can change things together).

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mjo
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Catgirl. Thanks for the input!

Will definitely look into it.

If I don't fully trust in the practitioner, perhaps I am blocking the energies. Seems it would make more sense to test supplements for myself.

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Catgirl
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You're welcome! It seemed so crazy far out there to me at first, but once I opened my mind to the world of energy healing I began getting better. I do it all the time. A wonderful tool and anyone can learn, but they must step out of the box. :)

--------------------
--Keep an open mind about everything. Also, remember to visit ACTIVISM (we can change things together).

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Robin123
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Thanks for your input. As a person who's extremely chem sensitive, I literally have to find out myself whether I can tolerate any product by taking a very small bit of it first. So this discussion doesn't really pertain to my treatment. However, I guess we're all different in how we respond.
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wrotek
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LOL i have no problems with doctors actually doing something [Smile] especially if it works
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mjo
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My therapist went to a lecture by an MD at a prominent university who said MDs who sell supplements can be making 60% of their income on those sales. (And we already have the highest paid physicians in the entire world!)

No one has really said what the markup is on supplements, what the actual cost is to physicians' offices.

I get that the prices charged can't exceed the MSRP. And comparing MD prices for supplements to those prices we can find online doesn't reflect what the true markup is either.

Supposedly the prices my LLMD charges are at "cost," which would be ridiculous. That would be an excellent way to lose money.

In checking online that LLMD's prices for the exact same products/same manufacturers/same quantities/same strengths were usually within an few dollars, no big deal, but some supplements were $10 more. At $10 a pop that can add up fast!

Who knows the real markup?

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Keebler
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" . . . a lecture by an MD at a prominent university who said MDs who sell supplements can be making 60% of their income on those sales.. . .
"

That 60% figure is highly inflated. Sounds like that might have been a meeting of a vendor trying to gather suppliers. Then there are some that are pyramid schemes. While that may be true for some who sell, I've never know any ND who was part of that kind of scheme.

Or it was someone trying to discredit (usually NDs) who sell supplements. I know that figure is wrong for every ND whom I've seen who offers a pharmacy on site. Most are barely keeping the lights on. No one is taking swanky vacations or driving fancy cars. Most NDs I know shop at Good Will and Thrift Shops.

There are many MDs who despise NDs and many MDs, legislators and pharmaceutical companies that would love to make it illegal for patients to be able to buy supplements. And there is a lot of gossip going on trying to discredit alternative options.

yet,

There is no professional group that does not have a few greedy ones among them. None. There is no professional group who does have among them some who are just in it for the money. None.

But, on the whole, most have their hearts and their policies in the right place.

If there is a doctor of any type that just does not "fit" or something seems out of line, that is important detail to pay attention to and maybe check with others in the lyme support groups nearby for their thoughts, experiences.

Or just trust your judgment that maybe this one is not of the right mind set for you.

It's important not to paint all doctors who provide products with the same brush. Some are very reasonable about it. I appreciate that they can do this. In my experience, I've been given far more than I've purchased over the years.

It took me a while to say that my budget just did not allow "this" or "that" and ask if they knew other places I might get similar items or if the company had any kind of discount program (some do).

It's kind of like going to the eye doctor and finding you need a new prescription. There is usually a glasses shop right next door. Most glasses are high priced but the prescription can also be filled elsewhere.

Same with the pharmacies in many medical complexes right near doctors' offices. There is a convenience and also good to know who the vendor is in case of questions or any problems.

Everything we buy is "marked up" to a consumer price. Otherwise, no stores would be able to stay open and pay their employees. There would be no stock on shelves anywhere if everything was offered at cost.

[edited that last bit in so the segue is all messed up]

With the name of any supplement - QUALITY and safety wise, it can take some time to research it and find alternatives and alternative vendors yet it is quite possible for those lucky enough to have internet access and a credit card / debit card (not everyone does, though).

For some that I thought were far overpriced, I spent months researching, transcribing dosage variables, forms, etc. and - sometimes in the end - I could find no comparison to quality.

Yet, for some I could.

Still, the key point is that many of the supplements are just that - and if not direct, assertive treatment for the underlying infections, some practitioners who just think they know all about lyme but do not really,

well, all our money can be spent in the wrong places and then all gone by the time we find out their particular skills / plans were not strong enough or based on the best science.

Be certain of the ILADS physician training, and their keeping up with ILADS conferences, etc. so that they have the best science even if they have other ways to approach.
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[ 03-07-2017, 10:54 PM: Message edited by: Keebler ]

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Keebler
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Good prices on common supplements:

www.vitacost.com & www.iHerb.com


Excellent sources, fair prices on specific herbs:

www.mountainroseherbs.com

MOUNTAIN ROSE HERBS


HERB PHARM, too, see their own site and then see if VitaCost carries it as they buy in bulk so can offer at lower prices.

Stephen BUHNER discusses various options in all his books, website and I trust his work / recommendations.

1st Chinese, too, just be aware that some of the powdered / ground items may contain small amount of fillers so it does not clump.

For Medical MUSHROOMS, Paul Stamets site is top notch.
-

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mjo
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Keebler. Yes, it's important not to paint all doctors and practitioners the same color. Certainly there are some schemers in every area.

But try finding out the actual markup!

Spoke to a knowledgeable friend yesterday about my searches that came up empty handed. She said those who sell supplements have linked hands to obscure the actual markup on supplements so clients will not know how much money they are actually making.

She laughed, too, about the former patient of an LLMD who claims that doc sells supplements at cost.

The reason my friend knows so much about the supplement market is her friends had a dream to grow and sell what they believed to be a helpful supplement. Ultimately, after a lot of research, the couple decided against doing so because the whole process felt completely dishonest to them.

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