The PSA has asked community pharmacy banner and buying groups not to stock or promote homeopathic products
These pharmacy groups should “draw a line in the sand and cease all activities that encourage the stocking, promotion, recommendation or marketing of homeopathy”, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) says.
PSA National President Dr Chris Freeman has published an open letter and written to major banner and buying groups, stating that many people are not aware that there is no reliable evidence for the use of homeopathic products.
“Public health is put at risk if people choose homeopathy over treatments that evidence shows are safe and effective,” he says.
PSA provided advice to pharmacists in its Choosing Wisely recommendations last month. One of the six recommendations is: “Do not promote or provide homeopathic products as there is no reliable evidence of efficacy. Where patients choose to access homeopathic treatments, health professionals should discuss the lack of benefit with patients.”
“Where there are homeopathic products available from community pharmacies, patients may see this as a de-facto endorsement,” Dr Freeman says.
The supply of homeopathic products is in contravention of the PSA Code of Ethics for Pharmacists. The Code of Ethics, recognised by the Pharmacy Board of Australia, states that pharmacists should only “supply or promote any medicine, complementary medicine, herbal remedy or other healthcare product where there is credible evidence of efficacy and the benefit of use outweighs the risk.”
“The PSA Code of Ethics makes it clear that homeopathic products should not be stocked or sold in community pharmacies. Banner and buying groups should do everything in their power to remove these products from their shelves,” Dr Freeman says.
“I congratulate the community pharmacists who have made the decision to remove these products from their shelves, or are planning to do so.
“We need to lead by example so patients continue to see community pharmacy as a health destination that provides the best possible evidence-based care.
“I look forward to community pharmacy groups committing to ensure patients receive robust health advice and are not misled into believing homeopathic products have any evidence of benefit.”