Judith wrote last year about the disgraceful deal between the Pharmacy Guild and Blackmores whereby so-called alternative medicines will be recommended by pharmacists in addition to mainstream products.
Today Cassandra Wilkinson has written compellingly of the confusion caused by regulating the sale of ‘complementary medicines’. This topic (and especially homeopathy) has been researched in-depth by the Australian Skeptics Association.
Pharmacists enjoy numerous benefits courtesy of the Government: they are a legal monopoly (even if they operate under individual pharmacists), they get rewarded by the gap between the wholesale and retail price of drugs, they get a separate dispensing fee, and their customers don’t often pay the full price of the products they purchase. Who wouldn’t like a shop where someone else pays most of the price?
In return for these privileges, pharmacists are supposed to be ethical, professionals who deal in evidence – by which we mean rigorous scientific evidence based on clinical trials under double-blind testing conditions.
In return for the benefits that the Government heaps upon pharmacists, isn’t it reasonable that they be banned from selling alternative medicines which have no proven efficacy?