Disappointment for King, Friends of Science in Medicine

Friends of Science in Medicine’s Ian Carr is disappointed that the Government has not taken up a King Review suggestion that pharmacies not sell homeopathy

The final report had stated that “homeopathy and homeopathic products should not be sold in PBS-approved pharmacies”.

However the Government’s response was that it “notes the importance of the provision of information to consumers for all medicines and health related products available through community pharmacy”.

“Professional standards have been designed for use by individual pharmacists to assess their own professional practice,” the response states. “They are intended to serve as guidance for desired standards of practice.

“It is the sole responsibility of the individual pharmacist to determine, in all circumstances, whether a higher standard is required.”

It is also up to pharmacists to meet the standard and give consumers “the best available information” about evidence to support – or not – the use of offered treatments and remedies, the Government said.

Pharmacist Ian Carr told the AJP today that he had concerns about the Government’s response.

“We’re trying, on the one hand, to work towards best practice in science-based medicine, and then we’ve got this incredible commercial pull to provide anything that possibly sells off the shelf,” he said.

“And you rarely see evidence of clients being provided with advice as to what exactly homeopathy is, and why, according to the laws of physics and chemistry, it has no scientific basis.”

He said he was also disappointed that recommendations to clearly separate complementary medicines from S2 and S3 medicines in pharmacy displays were not accepted.

He said that complementary and alternative medicines, including those which do not have a strong evidence base, are generally marketed via “glossy images, personalities and vague claims”.

“So I don’t think its appropriate that their products be identified with, and therefore should be separated from, items which are science-based and known to be effective.”

Professor Stephen King himself is reportedly disappointed that the Government has not decided to act on most of the Review’s recommendations, including one which would have seen pharmacists prevented from offering different prices, beyond the co-payment, on PBS medicines.

“Currently consumers are engaged in prescription lottery,” Professor King told Fairfax Media.

“Depending on where you live and how many pharmacies there are, you will pay very different prices for the same medicines,” he told reporter Kate Aubusson.

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  1. Roslyn Ross

    With conventional or allopathic medicine the third biggest killer in the US and the fourth in Australia, most of it from prescribed medication, there is a hint of hypocrisy about King’s position.

    Surely put one’s own ‘house in order’ before pointing the finger, particularly when Homeopathic medicine can help without harming because it is non-toxic.

    • Callum Tyler

      [Citation needed]

        • Callum Tyler

          The piece you have linked is an Opinion piece. The doctor in the opinion piece cited a book he wrote as evidence for his opinion. That’s terrible form.

          The only actual study he cites is one of his own studies where he finds that antidepressants increase the risk of falls in elderly people. As far as I can tell the study appears decent.

          He then claims that this is therefore the 3rd most popular cause of death, because antidepressants cause falls.

          This is just bizarre.

          Accidents are the 4th most common cause of death in countries such as the US. And that includes car accidents, shooting yourself in the face, etc. It also includes falls.

          However, most people who fall aren’t on antidepressants, since most of the population is not on antidepressants.

          So not only is it impossible for these falls to push drugs anywhere near the 3rd cause of death, antidepressants can’t even be responsible for many of the of falls.

          • Roslyn Ross

            The ‘opinion’ piece is in the BMJ not the Daily Mail.

            Radical I know, but go and look around for yourself.


            Quote: The Times analysis of 2009 death statistics, the most recent available, showed:

            For the first time ever in the US, more people were killed by drugs than motor vehicle accidents
            37,485 people died from drugs, a rate fueled by overdoses on prescription pain and anxiety medications, versus 36,284 from traffic accidents
            Drug fatalities more than doubled among teens and young adults between 2000 and 2008, and more than tripled among people aged 50 to 69
            Again, these drug-induced fatalities are not being driven by illegal street drugs; the analysis found that the most commonly abused prescription drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax and Soma now cause more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.

            Read some of the references in the BMJ op-ed piece.

            1. Gøtzsche PC. Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How big pharma has corrupted health care. London: Radcliffe Publishing; 2013.

            2. Gøtzsche PC. Deadly psychiatry and organised denial. Copenhagen: People’s Press; 2015.

            3. Coupland C, Dhiman P, Morriss R, et al. Antidepressant use and risk of adverse outcomes in older people: population based cohort study. BMJ 2011;343:d4551.

            4. Jørgensen FR, Gøtzsche PC, Hein P, et al. [Naproxen (Naprosyn) and mobilization in the treatment
            of acute ankle sprains]. Ugeskr Læger. 1986; 148: 1266–8.

            5. Gøtzsche PC. Sensitivity of effect variables in rheumatoid arthritis: a meta-analysis of 130
            placebo controlled NSAID trials. J Clin Epidemiol. 1990; 43: 1313–18.

            6. Moncrieff J, Wessely S, Hardy R. Active placebos versus antidepressants for depression. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2004;1:CD003012.

    • Mike Stevens

      ”Homeopathic medicine can help”

      How Can you possibly tell, Ros?
      You’ve already admitted that you can’t name a single medical condition for which there is evidence it can consistently be helped by homeoquackery.
      You have confirmed that on multiple occasions.

      • shay simmons

        Something something magic something.

      • Eliza Mary

        The problem with homeopathy is that the faithful often delay receiving effective treatment, which can result in further deterioration of conditions.

    • As soon as I see the word allopathic, I know homeopathic bullshit is about to follow.

    • shay simmons

      The third biggest killer of adults in the US is COPD.

      Heart disease and cancer are #s 1 and 2, and as Callum has pointed out, accidents are #4. Medical error is not even in the top ten. If I post a link to the most recent table (2016), will you even read it?

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