PSA misrepresented on homoeopathy

homoeopathy pills and blue bottle

A recent headline in medical newsletters stating ‘Pharmacists reluctant to give up on homeopathy’ misrepresents the public position of the PSA, the organisation says.

The newsletter reports made no reference to the publicly stated position of the Society following the release last week of a review by the National Health and Medical Research Council which found there were no health conditions for which there was reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective.

National President of the PSA, Grant Kardachi, says PSA welcomes the release of the review which clearly highlights the need for pharmacists to advise consumers of the dangers of choosing homeopathy over evidence-based medicine.

“On release of this report we stated clearly and publicly that we are of the view consumers may put their health at risk if they reject or delay treatments for which there is good evidence for safety and effectiveness,” Kardachi says.

“The NHMRC report underscores the need for consumers to consult their pharmacists when seeking appropriate treatments for their conditions.

“I reiterate what we said publicly on release of the report that pharmacists are obliged to advise such people that there are treatments and therapies they can choose which are based on the best available evidence.

“PSA’s Code of Ethics, which is endorsed by the Pharmacy Board of Australia, states the health and wellbeing of the consumer is a pharmacist’s first priority.”

Mr Kardachi said he was confident any pharmacies stocking homeopathic products would reassess their position following the release of the NHMRC report.

“Pharmacists are skilled medicine experts and the NHMRC report will help to reinforce their clinical expertise in regard to decisions over homeopathy products.

“PSA is not a regulatory body and cannot force pharmacists to remove products from sale however the NHMRC report provides unequivocal evidence that when dealing with homeopathy products pharmacists must consider not only their interaction with patients but also what stock is to be held within the pharmacy.”

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  1. Dr Ben Balzer

    Pharmacists have no training in homeopathy. Therefore they have no understanding of how such products are supposed to work and how they should be used, if at all. Clearly the science indicates they are as useless as phrenology (feeling the bumps on your head).
    It is totally unethical for pharmacists to stock or promote homeopathic products (let us not call them medications). Let’s face it, it is only driven by the desire to hoodwink people into buying “homeopathic melatonin” and other products that are not available without prescription or compounding.
    Homeopathic products contain NO ACTIVE INGREDIENT, only a “memory” of the active, and so have no side effects other than those of the carrier.
    Anyone who thinks it is a legitimate commercial activity sell this rubbish should take a long hard look at the type of person they have become (venal, avaricious, empty etc).

    • Paul

      Actually Ben, I HAVE been shown and taught about homeopathy and how it works. I am also a pharmacist. I can only assume you don’t know what your talking about in that regard.
      As for the ‘training’ that we receive regarding homeopathy at university, there really isn’t much to it, as like you have alluded to, they work on magic rather than science.

      • Dr Ben Balzer

        Maybe you should ask some other pharmacists as I have done. When I studied pharmacy in 79-80 there was nothing on homeopathy, particularly nothing on homeopathic “therapeutics”. Moreover shop staff can hand out homeopathic melatonin without the foggiest notion. It’s just a con.

        • Paul

          The pharmacy course has changed significantly since the 80’s I guess.
          I also agree that homeopathic products are useless and of no therapeutic benefit.

          Fortunately, the ones I have seen on the shelves are ‘indicated’ for conditions such as ‘Stress Relief’ or ‘Insomnia’ and are only really sold on request by the customer meaning they are not recommended or provided to a customer unless specifically asked for.

          The only reason my pharmacy stocks a limited range by Brauer is due to the fact that it get’s the customer through the door and provides an opportunity to address their health needs. Though I will almost always tell the customer straight out that the product contains nothing but water and ethanol (or some other diluent of no consequence).

          Let’s not forget the placebo effect. In something like stress, there really isn’t a tablet for that. Having a customer purchase a product that can’t hurt them which they believe to be of benefit to them on their own terms, after having talked to them with regards to their overall health, may just be something that will provide some stress relief. Sad but true.

          • Dr Ben Balzer

            I thought that as homeopathisc they should have the opposite effect. Homeopathic melatonin if it worked would wake you up. Homeopathic DHEA should reduce your libido.

            Obviously there is a lot more sales and marketing training and a lot less emphasis on professionalism and ethics. Supporting homeopathy is signing a death warrant for pharmacy. Playing straight into Woolworths and Coles hands by wrecking your reputation and your brand.

          • Paul

            I don’t understand what you’re trying to say in that first paragraph. If homeopathic melatonin worked, which is doesn’t, then it would do what real melatonin does and aid in restoring your natural sleep cycle and hence aid sleep etc.

            Ben do you even work in a real pharmacy or do you sit at a desk behind closed doors reading textbooks with no real world context? You cannot do anything for a customer until they walk into your pharmacy. Just because you have knowledge in your head doesn’t make it useful.
            No-one here on this page is supporting ‘Homeopathy’. That’s something you’ve made up in your self-proclaimed crusade. As for the course, it’s very much focused on professionalism and ethics and almost no marketing and sales.

            Even garbage can be recycled and in this case stocking a few homeopathic products can be used as a tool in attracting a customer to then provide a health service using real medications to do so should the customer be open to it.

            I resent being referred to a venal and avaricious, especially by someone who comes across as you do (arrogant, close-minded etc).

          • John

            Paul why don’t you stand in the fact that homeopathy doesn’t work and you don’t believe in it instead of having it in your shop .
            Maybe at the same time you should start telling people of the many side effects of the pharmaceuticals you hand out daily .
            Tell them how hard it is for them to get off antidepressants that are given out like smarties .Refuse your codeine and doxylamine sales to your addicts while your at it.
            Tell them about how the NSAIDs will burn holes in their guts and ruin their kidneys.
            Oh hang on you won’t do that because it will be bad for sales ,hey but at least it’s clinically proven .
            Same for you Ben ,homeopathy is used all over Europe and works differently to how your little closed mind sees things .
            Maybe you should talk about the con of the statin drugs and the side effects of them and the recent research around the cholesterol myth .Oh but no in Big Pharm we trust hey Ben ,gee their studies wouldn’t be tainted at all or distorted .They tell everyone the whole truth don’t they.
            Or maybe about the deaths that Vioxx caused and the other drugs of the same class still on the market .
            Maybe then discuss the no of adverse reactions and deaths that are a result of pharmaceuticals each year .
            Seems there is a lot more danger involved in taking pharmaceuticals than gee maybe that homephathic doesn’t work .How many deaths from homeopathy ???
            First do no harm ,bit of a worry isn’t it when we are handing out drugs that all have rotten side effects .
            Oh but gee that doesn’t matter does it because we have our sales to make and business to run .
            You know you guys should not be such hypocrites and sell anything you don’t believe in .Take all your vitamins and herbs out of your shop as well , you probably think all of that stuff doesn’t work either ,I forgot its a good lure to get your customers into the shop ,puke .
            And we wonder why pharmacy is being destroyed ,price cuts and businesses going broke.
            Open your eyes gents .

          • Brendo

            How does homeopathy work differently in Europe to here? It does nothing in any country.

      • jamespannozzi

        Nonsense. Nobody knows how it works.

    • jamespannozzi

      Your comments, and those of the respondents, indicate a complete lack of understanding of Homeopathy and, in addition, a Quixotic attempt to treat Homeopathy drugs as though they operated by the conventional or known rules of biochemistry.

      However the use of the high dilutions and the matching of “similia” or supposed drug properties elicited in a healthy person with the symptom complex of a sick person, if successful, and it seems to be, strongly indicate that conventional biochemical operations are not operative.

      See Ennis (Inflammation Research Vol 53 p 181) if you like scientific speculation.

      But, overall, you need to read Hahnemann and his immediate followers, see how they were making the drugs and using them. Then read books such as those by Dr. Dorothy Shepherd MD in the 1940’s and/or “Homeopathy in Medicine and Surgery” written in 1913.

      Viewed simply as faux conventional biochemistry, of course its all “rubbish”. Viewed from the point of view of Newtonian physics, what Einstein had to say was “rubbish” too. But it worked.

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