Ethical and Legal Aspects of Marketing Activity in the Field of Dental Healthcare Services

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT.

Over the years some aspects regarding marketing activity in general have been considered as being part of a concept named "deceptive marketing." This was the term addressing to a variety of marketing practices considered deceptive and in many cases that become illegal, like - unjustified rise of prices, deceptive advertising, low quality and unsafe products promotion, lack of protection for low-income customers etc. The present article addresses the issue of unethical marketing practices customized for the dental healthcare services. The authors present the main types of ethical and legal issues that may be encountered in marketing in general, and then they customize carefully these issues for dental healthcare field. These particular elements are highlighted specifically in the context of a special relationship that is built between patients and doctors in healthcare services

Keywords: ethical issues, deceptive marketing, sugging, hugging, dental healthcare services

1. Introduction

Marketing seen as a set of principles and essential function of nowadays companies has had a constant evolution from both perspectives - the conceptual one and the practical one. Although the scope of the marketing concept has been constantly expanded and its integration into the corporate philosophy was deepened, it was inevitable for some criticism to appear in the context of complex social and cultural evolutions after the '50.

This criticism was mainly related to the movement of consumerism and other unfair commercial practices from the perspective of business ethics.

2. Ethical and Legal Issues of Marketing Activity

The need to regulate economic activity has existed since the dawn of human civilization, exchange relations between sellers and buyers being subject to many abuses. In the context of business activity, marketing practices have become a very important and prominent issue after 1950. In the same period of time, the expansion of mass production and mass consumption was at the very beginning, after the crisis of the Second World War. From this point further, until the present time, the socio-economic trends have determined a rapid and constant evolution of marketing activity.

Thus, at the conceptual and also operational activities level, marketing has been developed in such a way as to respond to the challenges that these changes have raised.

The complexity of the issues rose by the analysis of the principles of business ethics in general and marketing in particular requires a synthetic approach, within the framework of this article being highlighted just some of the aspects of ethics and legality of marketing activity.

Addressing the sensitive issue of respecting and promoting ethics in marketing activity can result at the level of at least three major directions:

- A differentiation of unethical practices by the nature itself of inculcated rules (non-observance of generally accepted norms and values)

- There is a differentiation of unethical practices within each particular aspect of marketing activity in its entirety (we can talk about ethics in the marketing communications, in marketing research, pricing or distribution policies and of course at the level of production processes)

- Unethical practices can be differentiated also according to subjects who may be affected directly or indirectly (consumers, competitors, shareholders, society as a whole etc.)

Considering the perspective of an individual organization that substantiates its marketing activity, ethics and law issues can be analyzed in terms of the marketing environment.

Thus we have ethical issues relevant to the internal environment - organizational culture, communication with own employees, communication with stakeholders, implementation of marketing mix

A second relevant category in terms of the organization's marketing environment is the ethical issues that may arise as a result of networking between the organization and its external environment, both in terms of microeconomic and macroeconomic dimension. …