Mobile radiation product in pharmacy sparks Twitter storm

Twitter users have queried whether Patch’d, a device which claims to offer health benefits by protecting mobile phone users from radiation, is appropriate for sale in community pharmacy.

User @BookWombat saw the product on sale at a Chemist Warehouse and wondered why the product was stocked…

Many Twitter users echoed her dismay, with some suggesting that the pharmacy chain is prioritising retail return over patient health.

Australian Doctor’s Michael Woodhead retweeted the original image and question to Pharmacy Guild, Victorian Branch president Anthony Tassone, asking for clarification.

Tassone also pointed out that Chemist Warehouse are not members of the Pharmacy Guild.

Patch’d purports to be a “smartchip” that reduces radiation by up to 95%.

However within a week of its launch in Australia, the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association had issued a statement disputing its claims.

“We note the release this week of a device called Patch’d, which claims to reduce smartphone radiation,” AMTA said at the time.

“The Federal Government’s safety watchdog, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), does not recommend the use of products that attach to a phone and advertised as neutralising any harmful effects.

“‘The claims are not consistent with current scientific knowledge and it is difficult, if not impossible, to verify any benefits,’ it says in a fact sheet.

“ARPANSA says if people have concerns about their use of wireless devices there are some simple and effective ways of reducing exposure to radiation by using a wired earpiece or hands-free device to keep the handset away from the head; texting instead of speaking.

“Also, the current (June 2014) World Health Organisation (WHO) fact sheet says: ‘The use of commercial devices for reducing radiofrequency field exposure has not been shown to be effective’.”

“The fact remains that regrettably, many pharmacies do stock lots of shonky products,” says Friends of Science in Medicine’s Ken Harvey.

“This particular example comes from Chemist Warehouse, but it’s an example of a not uncommon situation in pharmacy.

“It doesn’t help pharmacy’s reputation as it’s clearly more about profits than the health of the community, which is a pity.”

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