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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  1. Larry M

    The title of this article alone is indicative of its grossly biased and hysterical nature. There is a wave of right wing intolerance sweeping Western countries, and this article is emblematic of that authoritarian mentality. The truth is that there is a growing body of positive research to support homeopathy. The Australian report on homeopathy was produced by an overtly biased group of people who seek to get rid of homeopathy. Repeatedly citing false information does not make it come true unless, that is, one lives in a totalitarian society. Homeopathy is safe, effective, inexpensive, and has been recognized as such in places like India and Switzerland where it is now part of the national health service. People must have the right to medical self-determination, the right to use the therapy of their choice without the interference of ideologues whose hidden agenda is to promote the interests of Pharma and the medical-industrial complex. Calling homeopathy “crap” does not bolster the scientific credibility of the author.

    • Jarrod McMaugh

      The medical-industrial complex of which you speak would need to be so all encompassing to exist without fascism that it would have to encompass 99% or more of the population.

      If this is the case, then why rail against the push for homeopathy to be removed from this politic, since it would be the will of 99% or more of the masses

      If this is not the case, then the conspiracy that you are claiming to exist is a falacy, and your argument falls flat, revealing the falsehoods of your claims about the effectiveness of homeopathy and the conspiracy machine that you seem to fear.

      Either way, you’re arguments are really weak and won’t garner any support here. The only support you’ll receive is from the cohorts of the weak willed and the paranoid, who are attracted to comment in your wake by the whistling noise made as your pointless rhetoric passes through their empty brain pans.

      • zetetic zetetic

        Tell me boy, where is the “conspiracy” theorist?

        Larry point to only a scientific facts, not the biased propaganda from the Loretta Maron lobby. Reputted scientist’s have shown the specific biological effects from some ultra homeopathic potencies, the trial was double blinded and published in Microbial Pathogenesis:

        Another biological trial show the same, the paper was published in Cytokine journal:

        Double blind, double dummy clinical trial was published in the European Journal of Obstetrics:

        Researchers from University of Illinois and reputed Brazilian researchers were capable to replicate the earlier effects on cells:

        If you want attack the Homeopathy journal, see first this:

        Researchers from prestigious centers from Ecuador and Mexico have show the effect of some homeopathics in acuiculture

      • zetetic zetetic

        The negative spanish report from National Academy of Pharmascist’s was debunked here:

      • zetetic zetetic

        Spanish pseudoskeptics were debunked! Full review of 30 years:

    • Debbie Rigby

      “The Australian report on homeopathy was produced by an overtly biased group of people who seek to get rid of homeopathy.”
      Larry M, this statement is inaccurate. The systematic review of systematic reviews was conducted by robust methodology by NHMRC.
      It was also acknowledged that ‘absense of evidence is not evidence of absense’; however there is evidence of no effect with homeopathy.
      I agree that homeopathy has no place in community pharmacy; but consumers will still have access through other sources, so their rights are not compromised.

  2. zetetic zetetic

    Desesperate measures from the pseudoskeptical companies (examples: CSICOP, Nightingale Collaboration, Meyerside Skeptics…). You loose Randi!

  3. Kate Tog

    There seems to be a very strong “pro” group and also a very strong “against” group but I have this nagging feeling that we may be missing something on our little big island of Australia. Througout Europe homeopathy (real controlled homeopathy) is widely practiced, prescribed and accepted alongside conventional treatment. Would it be so bad to leave our biases at the door for a moment and see what all the fuss is about. Most European pharmacies also do not sell half of the crap we do in their pharmacies and just specialise in “medicine:. Just a though…..

  4. PharmOwner

    Hi Larry,
    A couple of points…you claim “Homeopathy is safe, effective, inexpensive” 1/ Safe? It should be safe, but there are plenty of case reports of people being admitted to hospital after taking homeopathic remedies due to poor quality control. 2/ Effective? No more effective than placebo because it’s essentially water. 3/ Inexpensive? Yes, for the same reason as point 2 – it’s effectively water.
    Homeopathy does have its place – in supermarkets and health food stores. It has no place in pharmacy. I agree that people must have the right to medical self-determination. They also have the right to base their choices on honest, accurate information.

  5. pagophilus

    Hemoeopathy is crap. The only reason some pharmacies sell homeopathic products is money. They’d sell cigarettes too if they could.

    This is because there’s a conflict between the pharmacy as a retail operation and the pharmacist as a health professional. I can’t think of another health professional who makes the majority of their income from the sale of products. There is therefore pressure to increase sales (and therefore to sell unnecessary and sometimes useless products) to people in order to increase sales and increase or even maintain income in the world of decreasing prescription revenue. A health professional should be paid to deliver a service, a needed and useful service, and further, the temptation to increase income by overservicing should be removed (as that is also a problem with other health professionals).

    The government needs to seriously look at capitation as a method of paying health care professionals – you get assigned patients and you get paid a set amount according to the number of patients assigned to you, whether they actually come and see you or not.

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