Homeopathy has no place in pharmacy: Canadian pharmacist


homeopathy round white pills on leaf

A Canadian pharmacist has slammed the sale of homeopathic remedies in community pharmacy, stating that homeopathy and science are mutually exclusive.

“Retail pharmacies have a sugar pill problem,” writes Scott Gavura, an Ontario pharmacist, on the Science-Based Pharmacy blog.

“To understand why homeopathy has no place in a pharmacy, it’s essential to understand how homeopathy differs from other forms of complementary and alternative medicine,” he writes.

Homeopathy is often misunderstood as a natural medicine similar to herbalism, he writes; this is encouraged by marketing of the products as a “gentle” or “natural” system of healing, and “putting cryptic terms like ‘30C’ beside long Latin names of what appears to be the active ingredients”.

“In reality, there is little likelihood that a homeopathic remedy contains even a single molecule of any listed ingredient. So while there may be hundreds of homeopathic remedies in a pharmacy, they are chemically indistinguishable, usually containing just sugar and water.

“The result is a growing assortment of placebos on store shelves, alongside medicines and even supplements that actually contain active ingredients.”

Gavura says that if homeopathy works in the way envisioned, the rest of medicine can not.

“Pharmacists are the health professionals with specialized training in pharmacology, and an education that concentrates on drug design, delivery and understanding how to use medicines effectively and safely,” he says.

“If any health professional should recognize the logical and scientific leaps that homeopathy necessitates, it should be pharmacists.

“Regrettably, there seems to be relatively few pharmacies that have made the deliberate decision not to sell homeopathic remedies.

“Selling placebos alongside medicine violates patient autonomy, reflecting a form of medical paternalism (or perhaps crass commercialism) that retail pharmacists need to eliminate if they want to be truly accepted as partners in the health care team.

“Homeopathy illustrates, with perhaps the most clarity, why selling unproven or ineffective treatments is incompatible with ethical practice.”

Gavura says the cessation of tobacco sales in most pharmacies worldwide provides a precedent for pharmacies voluntarily ceasing sales of legal products.

“Homeopathy isn’t tobacco, but its sale in pharmacies is raising the same questions about the profession’s intent.

“With pharmacists stating they want an expanded role in health care, will they confront the professional and ethical challenges that homeopathy presents?”

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8 Comments

  1. Sandra Courtney
    28/07/2015

    A recently published news article in the United States (7/27/15), highlights the opening of a new office of an acclaimed plastic surgeon who uses homeopathy both pre and post-operatively for his patients. He would not use homeopathy if his patients did not improve. The article can be read in full by doing a Google search using the words “acclaimed surgeon jeffrey b wise md opens new office in manhattan”

    In most cases, the people who dismiss homeopathy have not studied or used the services of a homeopath. My family homeopath is both a licensed medical doctor who also studied homeopathy. He is not palliating his patients, he is curing them. One final point I would like to make is that the majority of patients who seek alternative care, including that of a homeopath, have already tried conventional treatment without success.

    • Alan Schmukler
      29/07/2015

      Hi Sandra

      I just want to thank you for always showing up to defend homeopathy and doing it so effectively. You’re a true warrior for homeopathy. Kudos!

      • Sandra Courtney
        29/07/2015

        Thank you, Alan. You are no stranger in the defense of homeopathy either. :o)

  2. ReallyGoodMedicine
    28/07/2015

    Homeopathy has no place in a pharmacy? Interestingly, it is the second most used system of medicine in the world today because it’s safe, non-toxic, creates no side effects, is effective and often curative where conventional medicine fails. That’s why more than 550 million people use it over and over again, decade after decade, generation after generation.

    To see hundreds of cured case records of conditions from cancer to Grave’s disease to addiction to Rx drugs to type 2 diabetes documented with objective test results google “homeopathy cured cases”.

    This is what an M.D. specializing in infectious diseases has to say about homeopathy:

    “I have heard all those accusations against homeopathy in my medical faculty but while practicing within the space of three months I heard from four different patients that homeopathy has helped them the most. That was 23 years ago. Should I have just followed what my profesors and colleagues told me about homeopathy quackery or should I have made a personal investigation of the truth? My doctoral thesis was on the placebo effect. I deeply believed in personal and direct experience of reality as opposed to following the accepted norms. I am glad I opted for the second choice….when I saw the initial cures with homeopathy, it was worth all the efforts.

    “Today M.D.’s are coming for consultation for themselves and their family and refer their me their most challenging cases.”

    Shabram Azoubzadih

    Anyone who finds homeopathy has a friend for life!

  3. Marilyn Freedman Homeopath HOM
    28/07/2015

    There are two erroneous assumptions made in this article that I want to address. One is to homeopathy in the pharmacy and the other is to the “placebo” notion of homeopathic medicines.

    Homeopathy is a therapeutic system of medicine based on the principle of the Law of Similars. Homeopathy involves the selection and prescription of a medicine, which through prior testing on healthy people, and from clinical experience and observation, is known to produce a similar symptom picture to that of the patient.

    The Pharmacist should recognize the homeopathic principle in medicines such as

    Ritalin, for attention deficit with hyperactivity, is an amphetamine-like drug which normally causes hyperactivity; digitalis for heart conditions when digitalis normally creates heart conditions; nitroglycerine for heart conditions, gold salts for arthritic conditions, colchicine for gout – all are known to cause the similar symptoms that they are found to treat. All of these medicines are sold in Canadian pharmacies.

    Conventional oncology uses radiation to treat people with cancer when radiation causes cancer; M.D.s give vaccinations, based on homeopathy: the vaccination is made from diseased material, such as smallpox, which will produce a reaction in the body to allow an immunity to smallpox.

    As far as incomprehension of the dilutions of homeopathic medicines, it should be noted that the range of medicines used is from mother tinctures up to, and beyond, Avogadro’s number. In fact, Homeopathy is nano-medicine.

    The infusion of medicine through nano-technology, and the use of nano-medicine has recently been discovered by conventional medicine. An example of this is cancer patients living longer lives thanks to nanoparticles that deliver anti cancer drugs directly to tumor cells.

    Nanoscale substances are not visible with a conventional optical microscope because nanostructures are smaller than the bandwidth of visible light.

    Pharmacies throughout Europe, Asia, and South America, sell homeopathic remedies. 50% of doctors in France and Germany prescribe homeopathy. Governments of India and Cuba subsidize and recommend homeopathic immunization for specific diseases. 500 million people in the world use homeopathy. Why? Because it works.

  4. Alan Schmukler
    29/07/2015

    There are many senior physician homeopaths who have worked in poor viliiages in India for 30 or 40 years, successfully treating everything from Dengue to Leprosy. I’m sure they would be surprised to learn they have been using placebos.

    • Alex
      12/08/2015

      I’m sure some of them would be surprised to learn it, yes. So what? Are we now determining the truth of a given claim based on how surprised it’s proponents would be when informed that they’re wrong?

  5. Alex
    12/08/2015

    The nice thing is you generally won’t find hoeopathic junk in Canadian pharmacies anyway. I tried to buy some a few years back, to do one of those “overdose” demonstrations; I tried 6 different pharmacies without being able to find a single homeopathic product. Eventually found some in Chinatown.

    Apparently our pharmacists are more scrupulous than those in other countries.

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