Pharmacies Selling Homeopathy
Posted: 23 January 2012 07:14 PM   [ Ignore ]
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While I personally feel strongly there is no merit to taking homeopathy - I see no problem why pharmacies can not carry the product. They are health/wellness centres and some people really are convinced homeopathy helps them - even if only by placebo effect. The pharmacy shouldn’t dictate health choices individuals make - they can only educate. Pharmacists should certainly tell people what they know about homeopathyand that it is unlikely to help - but if an individual wants homeopathy it is their right to choose their own treatments and it is reasonable to be on the shelves. Pharmacists should not mislead or actively promote the products though.

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Posted: 23 January 2012 07:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Welcome Drew, but I don’t agree. Homeopathy is fraud. By offering homeopathy pharmacies lend a level of credence to these products that they don’t deserve. Additionally pharmacists are trained in science and know these products are worthless so if nothing else what they are doing is dishonest.

By your logic physicians should offer homeopathic treatments in their office and voodoo sessions as well since by the same reasoning you could say that it should be up to the patients to decide what treatments they want.

Pharmacist are not just shop owners. They are professionals trained in the science of pharmacology. Its up to scientifically trained professionals to help educate people not mislead them. Even if they dont actively promote these products just by having them on the shelves they are giving tacit approval to them.

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Posted: 23 January 2012 08:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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drew84 - 23 January 2012 07:14 PM

While I personally feel strongly there is no merit to taking homeopathy - I see no problem why pharmacies can not carry the product. They are health/wellness centres and some people really are convinced homeopathy helps them - even if only by placebo effect. The pharmacy shouldn’t dictate health choices individuals make - they can only educate. Pharmacists should certainly tell people what they know about homeopathyand that it is unlikely to help - but if an individual wants homeopathy it is their right to choose their own treatments and it is reasonable to be on the shelves. Pharmacists should not mislead or actively promote the products though.

I agree in theory; people do have the right to do what they want to their body. A problem arises from the fact that many, if not all pharmacies today are corporate, and the days of the trusted personal druggist seem to be dead. The pharmacists can’t make the decision on what the store sells - even if it’s just garbage.

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Posted: 23 January 2012 08:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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That’s the unfortunate practical side of this issue. I have to ask a pharmacist next time i get a chance but Ive been wondering if corporate pressures them to be positive or at least neutral when patients ask about these products. If so there is a huge conflict of interest there and its something that perhaps government should be involved in. Pharmacists should be free to tell patients that these products are worthless without fear of losing their jobs.

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Posted: 23 January 2012 08:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Pharmacists, like doctors, are health care professionals.  That doesn’t mean that they are all ethical.  After all there are guys like Dr. Oz.  However, If a pharmacist is ethical, and a person comes in to buy some homeopathic “remedy” for a health problem that the pharmacist knows should require an M.D., s/he has the ethical duty to point that out to the customer, not just sell something that won’t help and may allow the problem to worsen, but which allows him/her to make a profit.

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Posted: 24 January 2012 05:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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drew84 - 23 January 2012 07:14 PM

While I personally feel strongly there is no merit to taking homeopathy - I see no problem why pharmacies can not carry the product. They are health/wellness centres and some people really are convinced homeopathy helps them - even if only by placebo effect. The pharmacy shouldn’t dictate health choices individuals make - they can only educate. Pharmacists should certainly tell people what they know about homeopathyand that it is unlikely to help - but if an individual wants homeopathy it is their right to choose their own treatments and it is reasonable to be on the shelves. Pharmacists should not mislead or actively promote the products though.

A pharmacy that refuses to sell homeopathic products is not “dictating” health choices. Such a pharmacy simply respects itself enough to not become a supplier of bunk. Some pharmacies sell cigarettes. Good ones don’t, IMO.

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Posted: 24 January 2012 08:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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traveler - 24 January 2012 05:42 AM

A pharmacy that refuses to sell homeopathic products is not “dictating” health choices. Such a pharmacy simply respects itself enough to not become a supplier of bunk. Some pharmacies sell cigarettes. Good ones don’t, IMO.

Good point. Ive never understood why health care products and cigarettes are allowed to be sold in the same place. It seems like that is something that could be regulated. Its not a free speech issue although republicans and tea partiers would certainly see it as more unnecessary government intrusion. I think it would make a dent in the incidence of smoking if cigarettes were marginalized even further ( and weren’t as convenient to get).

In a nod to the little guy, despite the profits available from selling cigarettes, I have never seen a small local pharmacy that sells them. Its usually the big chain places like CVS and Rite Aid etc. That would certainly make me believe that when the pharmacists are in charge ethics are more likely to rule over profits.

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Posted: 24 January 2012 02:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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HERE is a discussion of this issue from a pharmacist. I agree that there is a significant ethical problem raised by profiing from products which, as a scientifically trained professional, a pharmacist should know are worthless.

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Posted: 24 January 2012 05:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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mckenzievmd - 24 January 2012 02:48 PM

HERE is a discussion of this issue from a pharmacist. I agree that there is a significant ethical problem raised by profiing from products which, as a scientifically trained professional, a pharmacist should know are worthless.

At least there were some clear heads in that discussion but the thing I find infuriating is the wishy washy approach that the Royal Pharmaceutical Society took when they said..

“We would also recommend that homeopathic preparations are only sold if they are being used for a minor or self-limiting condition, and never to treat or prevent a serious condition.” .
.
So what they are saying is that it would be perfectly fine if a pharmacist cynically scooped some mud from the yard ( filtered of any biologically harmful agents of course) into capsules and then put it on the shelves to sell to patients with claims of cure on the package knowing full well that it was completely useless as long as they are only using it for something minor. Fraud is fraud. Just because the substance is prettier than mud and the pharmacist isn’t actually preparing it doesn’t change a thing. If they put it there for patients to consider they they are active participants in fraud. Is it really OK to mislead the customer just because they are using it for a minor ailment. Since when is a little fraud OK?

[ Edited: 24 January 2012 05:47 PM by macgyver ]
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Posted: 25 January 2012 10:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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A little fraud is not ok (although not as bad as big fraud).  LOL

It’s important to note (I should use NB) that you can find groups of people in any profession talking shit (i.e., speaking out of their asses). That does not mean that the profession endorses any of it. I know, for example, that the UB School of Pharmacy teaches its students to see the absurdity in homeopathy.

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Posted: 25 January 2012 12:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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traveler - 25 January 2012 10:29 AM

A little fraud is not ok (although not as bad as big fraud).  LOL

It’s important to note (I should use NB) that you can find groups of people in any profession talking shit (i.e., speaking out of their asses). That does not mean that the profession endorses any of it. I know, for example, that the UB School of Pharmacy teaches its students to see the absurdity in homeopathy.

I agree completely, and if it were one fringe group or crazy individual I think you could shake your head and move on, but when the Royal Pharmacology Society condones the selling of homeopathy by its members it appears to the public like this is the official position of pharmacists since they represent the profession even if most pharmacists don’t agree with this.

Unfortunately groups like the Royal Pharmacology Society and the AMA etc are political organizations run by pragmatists and they are very sensitive to public opinion. Because of that they often times take positions that are wrong because its politically expedient to do so and they don’t want to alienate people. Its the main reason I never joined the AMA.

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Posted: 25 January 2012 01:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Agreed. Sadly, the USA is no better with its FDA.

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Posted: 26 January 2012 08:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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While I personally feel strongly there is no merit to taking homeopathy - I see no problem why pharmacies can not carry the product.

I do, and for a very simple reason: when a pharmacy offers this stuff, they give it an aura of respectability which in the case of homeopathy, just isn’t deserved.

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Posted: 26 January 2012 08:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I think drew84 was a one-hit wonder.

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Posted: 05 February 2012 03:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I was at a pharmacy recently where they had Rescue Remedy (not strictly homeopathic, I know) and someone was buying it.

We’ve had a BIG run of earthquakes lately (10,000 earthquakes since Sept 2010) so it’s selling really well. People will do anything to get over that panic every time one hits.

I challenged the pharmacist about it. He knows it’s just a placebo, but in his words, “people buy it, so we stock it.”

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