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Pharmacists warned off homeopathy

By Docta, Apr 19, 2014 | | |
  1. Docta
    Pressure is mounting on Australian pharmacists to stop selling homeopathic products after a major review found there was no credible scientific evidence to support the alternative medicine. Despite scepticism about homeopathy among pharmacists, many of them sell homeopathic products that are marketed for illnesses including migraines, bleeding, persistent nausea and vomiting, coughs and colds, insomnia and arthritic pain.

    But there are increasing calls for the pharmacists to abandon the products after a National Health and Medical Research Council review of homeopathy concluded there was no reliable evidence it could treat health conditions. The review, released earlier this month, also said: ''People who choose homeopathy instead of proven conventional treatment may put their health at risk if safe and evidence-based treatments are rejected or delayed in favour of homeopathic treatment.''

    While the review has been criticised by homeopaths, who are appealing the finding, some doctors and pharmacists say it should make it unethical for pharmacists to continue stocking and selling homeopathic products. Under the Pharmacy Board of Australia code of conduct, pharmacists are required to practise ''in accordance with the current and accepted evidence base of the health profession, including clinical outcomes'' and by ''facilitating the quality use of therapeutic products based on the best available evidence and the patient or client's needs''.

    John Dwyer, an immunologist and emeritus professor of medicine at the University of NSW, said given pharmacists were currently lobbying to perform more health care, such as vaccinations and disease screening, it was time they put their ethics ahead of profits and stopped selling useless homeopathic products. He said the increasing commercialisation of pharmacies had led many to stock a range of dubious complementary and alternative medicines, giving them an air of credibility that could mislead the public. ''One can only imagine that commercial reasons dominate,'' said Professor Dwyer, a spokesman for the group Friends of Science in Medicine.

    Grant Kardachi, president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, the professional body representing 18,000 pharmacists, said he planned to send a statement to members about the NHMRC report because homeopathy did not sit well with the PSA's aim for pharmacies to become more professional ''health hubs''. ''I think we'd be saying you should seriously consider, if you are stocking these products in your pharmacy, what that actually means. And you should be looking at other products in your pharmacy to treat patients' health conditions where you know there is more evidence,'' he said. ''You need to mindful of what sort of message you're trying to sell. Am I in the business of health and pharmacists doing the right thing by consumers? Or am I a retail outlet?''

    But Greg Turnbull, a spokesman for the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, which represents community pharmacy owners, said it did not plan to do anything with the NHMRC review. He said it had not changed the guild's policy for pharmacists to use an ''evidence-based approach''.
    NSW pharmacist Ian Carr said he had never stocked homeopathic products and hoped his colleagues would follow suit.

    ''I personally think that the professionalism of pharmacy is threatened by the selling of non-evidence-based products,'' he said.
    Homeopaths believe that ''like treats like'', so they may use a substance that causes an illness to treat an illness, and that substances become more potent the more they are diluted.

    Julia Medew
    Health Editor
    April 20, 2014


  1. Basoodler
    I am surprised that h20 is legal in NSW! Anyway I would like to add a recent article that may incite curiosity in the ethical question presented in the op


    Police alarmed at rise in homeopathic recreational drugs

    New Zealand police are alarmed at a dramatic rise in the number of young people using recreational drugs based on homeopathic principles.

    Homeopathy is a system of medicine based on the idea that a substance that causes a problem where that problem does not exist will also treat that problem where the problem does exist. It became popular in the 19th century when homeopaths discovered the principle of diluting their medicines to the point where hardly any of the original active ingredient remained, which meant they were less likely to cause negative side-effects than equally-ineffective conventional medicines that were not diluted to that point.

    A spokesperson for the Christchurch police said “It’s much easier to catch homeopaths than sociopaths, because they don’t go out as much. The problem we have is in making the charges stick – the smoking gun in these cases is water with an undetectably low concentration of active ingredient, and ESR simply don’t have the technology to detect an undetectably low concentration of anything.”

    Police Minister Anne Tolley has directed ESR to spend $20 million this year to develop the technology to detect undetectably low concentrations of chemicals. None of the other aspects of ESR’s work will be cut to fund this research, but they have been instructed to find the $20 million through efficiency gains in other areas of their work. ESR’s total annual budget is $10 million per annum.

    Last November, Dunedin police were tipped off that a student sitting an exam had a homeopathic datura concoction in his water bottle. Because high doses of datura cause hallucinations and make people sick, homeopaths believe that a highly diluted datura solution will set off the body’s defences against these outcomes, leading to clearer thinking and good health. As such, it is a banned substance in exam environments. Upon testing, the level of datura in the water was found to be at undetectably low levels, as would be expected in a homeopathic preparation. The man was charged, and will appear in Dunedin District Court next week.

    The police anti-terrorist squad are concerned that terrorists will add homeopathic poisons to the Waikato river. This is very difficult to prevent, as a homeopathic preparation flushed down any toilet in Hamilton would end up in the Waikato river upriver of where Auckland’s drinking water is collected. By the time it got into Auckland’s water supply, it would be so diluted as to be absolutely deadly.

  2. Space Numpty
    It may be worth pointing out to all that Basoodlers post is SATIRICAL and not to be taken seriously! Made me laugh though ;)

    I have noticed the number of homeopathic remedies sold in chemists which is odd considering there is no current scientific basis for homeopathy.

    That said, there are unexplainable results from homeopathic remedies. Most notably wild foxes in the UK effected by sarcoptic mange are treated with homeopathic sulpher and arsenic and it is absolutely shown to improve the skin infection (whilst not actually killing the mites, so it effectiveness is limited), and the success rate is quoted as 99% for mild infection. From what we understand in modern science this is inexplicable. Consider;

    source - www.foxproject.org.uk

    By the understanding of modern science there should be a 0 recovery rate, mange doesn't just get better, its a parasitic infestation. So, maybe modern science hasn't grasped it all yet. Someone did send me a link a while ago regarding waters ability to retain a "memory", but thats far from proven.
  3. TheBigBadWolf
    If its like that, is someone interested in being therapised with the water that is used in my bathroom?

    With the homoeopathical idea behind that all, my kidneys should be able to produce a quite diluted-as-can-be heroin dilution (delusion), cos I havent touched that stuff anymore in years, indetectable traces should be around (by definition, - something that is not present cannot be detected).

    It should be able to treat opiate dependency.

    Anyone volunteering?

    The high-pitch noise in the background is Sam Hahnemann, rotating inside his grave..


    I have no understanding at all how homoeopathica are sold as remedies. period.

    there's no biology, physics or chemistry behind it.
    Or is it still to be found?

    So is magick ...

  4. Space Numpty
    That i agree with. I also have no understanding that certainly Chemists can sell homeopathic remedies as by their nature, people expect the remedies they buy from a chemists to be clinically proven.

    I've actually bought something before for stress/anxiety from a chemists only to get it home to realise it was homeopathic....guess i should have read the label better huh? I didn't bother returning it, and i can't say it did anything for my anxiety, but i was pissed off that they sell "pseudo-scientific" products. Sure, if i go to some hippy health food store, i'd expect it, but not from a chemists.

    That said theres lots of things sold that are basically ineffective by chemists. Co-Codamol thats sold in the UK contains 8mg Codeine and 500mg Paracetamol so you are instructed to take only 2 due to the APAP, which total 16mg Codeine. IIRC thats not even a true analgesic dose, so in principle you are just as well off buying straight APAP (unless you plan to CWE ;))

    Then there are drugs like Promethazine that you can buy under the brand name "Sominex" in the UK as a sleep aid at around £3.50 for 8 25mg tablets. Go to the counter and ask for "Phenergan", sold to treat allergies and travel sickness and you'll be sold 56 of exactly the same substance, 25mg Promethazine Hydrochloride, seven times the quantity for around twice the price.

    I guess the point is that whilst these businesses assign to themselves some of the trust you may give a medical professional, they are first and foremost a business and out to make money from you, and they are not too bothered how.
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