September 10, 2015
Pharmacists have a real role in advising on use of complementary medicines
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, the peak organisation representing pharmacists across all sectors of the profession, has issued a position statement recognising that complementary medicines may have a role in the management or treatment of some conditions and that pharmacists are ideally placed to help consumers make informed decisions on their use.
PSA’s Complementary medicines position paper says complementary medicines may be used as an adjunctive therapy with conventional medicines, provided there is evidence to support their use.
National President of the PSA, Joe Demarte, said PSA was committed to supporting pharmacists help consumers make informed decisions regarding complementary medicines and continued to advocate strongly for a partnership approach with consumers to promote the Quality Use of Medicines and responsible self-medication.
“This is a partnership between the pharmacist and the consumer where the pharmacist as the medicines expert can advise on the appropriate use of complementary medicines the consumer may be considering,” Mr Demarte said.
“There is a wealth of information available about complementary medicines which can be confusing and the pharmacist can assist in ensuring that consumers are provided with the best available information about the current evidence for efficacy, as well as information on any potential side effects, drug interactions and risks of harm.
“In the event that a consumer chooses to use a product with limited evidence, the pharmacist must advise the consumer on the risks of rejecting or delaying treatments for which there is good evidence for safety and effectiveness.
“PSA strongly encourages all consumers considering taking complementary medicines to first consult their pharmacist for sound, evidence-based advice.”
Mr Demarte said PSA endorsed the NHMRC report, released in March 2015, which found there were no health conditions for which there was reliable evidence that homeopathy was effective.
PSA does not support the sale of homeopathy products in pharmacy.
“Our position is that pharmacists must use their professional judgement to prevent the supply of products with evidence of no effect,” Mr Demarte said.