Pharmacies opening a Pandora's box of quackery


Should pharmacies be selling 'health' products that don’t work?

A report by CHOICE questions whether pharmacies should be selling 'health' products that come with no credible evidence that they work.

People expect pharmacies to sell health related products that are safe and effective - particularly if the products make clinical or therapeutic claims.

However, a CHOICE pharmacy shadow shop found that whilst some pharmacists offered insightful, medically sound advice there were others who were indifferent or who gave advice on quack products with no scientific or medical basis.

"There is an onus on pharmacies to sell products that work and for pharmacists to stand by the safety and effectiveness of products in their store. Pharmacists hold a four year specialist degree in chemistry and consumers rely on their expert advice," says CHOICE spokesperson, Ingrid Just.

Some of the more dubious products CHOICE found being sold in pharmacies include ear candles, herbal weight loss remedies such as the Lemon Detox Diet and Hot Band hologram bracelets which claim to improve balance and muscle strength and alleviate jet lag and motion sickness.

Anti-snore acupressure rings were also found with some pharmacists happy to sell them despite the ACCC taking action against the company that manufacturers them and there being no evidence to suggest they work.

"Some pharmacies have developed into full blown retail enterprises selling all manner of things from toilet paper and confectionary to cosmetics and sunscreens. But when it comes to health products, they should stick to selling ones that are safe, effective and supported by scientific and clinical evidence," says Ingrid.

When considering a new or novel health product CHOICE suggests people speak with the pharmacists about the evidence upon which they base their advice.

"When products don’t work the consumer may not only have wasted their money they may have also delayed the opportunity to seek more appropriate treatment," says Ingrid.

For more information on the CHOICE report into pharmacies and to learn more about the CHOICE pharmacy shadow shop go to www.choice.com.au/pharmacies.

Media Contact:-

  • Ingrid Just, CHOICE, Spokesperson: 0430 172 669

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