Four Corners to cover pharmacists selling vitamins


Source: Four Corners, ABC.

On Monday night, ABC’s investigative program will look into how Australians are spending billions on “unproven” vitamins and supplements stocked in pharmacies

The story follows a recent Channel Nine news story that slammed pharmacy for complementary medicine “kickbacks”.

“The figures are startling – seven out of every ten Australians take some form of vitamin or supplement. We spend more, out of our own pockets, on complementary medicines than we do on prescription drugs,” write journalists Geoff Thompson, Ali Russell and Mary Fallon on introducing the ABC piece.

“Spruiked by sporting heroes, acting icons and celebrity chefs, the industry is worth over four billion dollars. But there is little evidence that many of these products actually work.

“Many pharmacies have shelves stacked high with vitamins and supplements, prominently displayed at the front of their shops, often sold in tandem with proven pharmaceuticals,” they write.

“If they’re after complementary medicines, then I’m happy to provide them,” a pharmacist told the reporters.

They say the program will investigate how these products are regulated and marketed in Australia and whether the credibility of pharmacies threatened by selling them.

“When we look at the most trusted professions, year on year on year, I’m proud to say that at the top are doctors, nurses and pharmacists. So that respect has been hard won.

“That’s put at risk if they’re being seen to promote treatments that increasingly the average consumer recognises might be a load of rubbish,” says the Australian Medical Association.

Swallowing It, reported by Geoff Thompson and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 13th February at 8.30pm EDT.

It will be replayed on Tuesday 14th February at 10.00am and Wednesday 15th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.

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