Cut the crap


Pharmacists are trusted medical professionals, so they shouldn’t sell remedies that lack evidence, article claims

Pharmacy bodies such as the PSA need to become more stringent in their opposition to pharmacies selling unproven medicines, say pharmacy lecturers.  

Writing in academic website The Conversation, Professor Greg Kyle and Dr Katherine Browne of the Queensland University of Technology say pharmacy organisations are compromised on this issue because their members “sell these products”.

They single out PSA for especial criticism, which the organisation rejects, highlighting its 2015 position statement on homeopathy as emphasising its stance against selling homeopathic treatments. 

The authors were writing after the recent Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation called for homeopathic products to be not sold at all in PBS-approved pharmacies.

It also argued that complementary medicines should be displayed in a separate area with easy access to a pharmacist for consumers and that pharmacists explain the limited evidence for effectiveness of complementary medicines.

The authors of The Conversation article say the PSA has “not been strong enough on homeopathic products, perhaps because it is are a member-based organisation and some of its members would sell these”.

“The PSA position statement says they do not support the sale of homeopathic products, but stops short of recommending pharmacists do not sell them,” they said.

However, PSA CEO Dr Lance Emerson said the claim that PSA is not strong enough due having members who sell these products is “incorrect and insulting”.

“All of PSA’s position statements are based on evidence and the best interests of consumers,” he said.

“The authors also said: ‘PSA’s position statement says they do not support the sale of homeopathic products, but stops short of recommending pharmacists do not sell them’. So, in practical terms, should PSA then publish a list of everything pharmacy owners should and shouldn’t stock? PSA can’t enforce this as we are not a regulatory body,” he said.

“PSA’s policy clearly states pharmacists must use their professional judgement to prevent the supply of products with no reliable evidence or evidence with no effect.”

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