March 12, 2015
NHMRC report highlights lack of evidence for homeopathy
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, the peak professional organisation representing pharmacists across Australia, welcomes a robust review by the National Health and Medical Research Council which found there are no health conditions for which there is reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective.
The report says homeopathy should not be used to treat health conditions that are chronic, serious, or could become serious.
National President of the PSA, Grant Kardachi, said the report highlighted the need for pharmacists to advise consumers of the dangers of choosing homeopathy over evidence-based medicine.
“The NHMRC report says that consumers may put their health at risk if they reject or delay treatments for which there is good evidence for safety and effectiveness,” Mr Kardachi said.
“Clearly with this warning in mind consumers should consult their pharmacist before using a homeopathy product.
“Pharmacists are obliged to advise such people that there are treatments and therapies they can choose which are based on the best available evidence.
“Pharmacists are committed to ensuring the best possible health outcomes for consumers and clearly with little evidence that homeopathic products work, homeopathic alternatives should be used with caution, if at all.”
Mr Kardachi said PSA’s Code of Ethics, endorsed by the Pharmacy Board of Australia, applied to every pharmacist irrespective of the role, scope, level or location of practice.
“Our Code of Ethics states that a pharmacist recognises the health and wellbeing of the consumer as their first priority,” Mr Kardachi said.
“It stresses that when recommending a therapeutic product, any new evidence or lack of rigorous information must be carefully balanced with the consumer’s choice and health status.
“It goes on to highlight that professional judgement must be exercised to prevent the supply of products whose use may result in an adverse health outcome.
“Clearly under the PSA Code of Ethics pharmacists must caution against the use of homeopathic products.”
The report is available at http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines-publications/cam02
March 10, 2015
S3 a dead duck? Think again
It has been called a black hole and a dead duck but the Pharmacist Only (Schedule 3) category could be the saving grace for community pharmacies struggling in the post-accelerated price disclosure world.
Many ‘progressive’ pharmacy owners have embraced the potential presented by S3 medicines and have already replaced pharmacy income that disappeared through accelerated price disclosure.
The March 2015 cover story of Australian Pharmacist, titled S3 dead as a duck? Think again, explores how pharmacies have gone about growing their S3 business.
Pharmacy business analyst and advisor Bruce Annabel says that a popular line of thought at the moment is that pharmacists should have a wider role in primary care or minor ailments. He sees S3 as ‘front and centre of that whole argument’.
These pharmacies are not alone in seeking to expand their S3 sales.
The Australian Self Medication Industry is also working hard to grow the category and sees a relaxation of advertising restrictions on S3 medicines as part of the way forward.
Also in the March Australian Pharmacist issue, Senator Richard Di Natale, the Greens Health Spokesperson, writes in the Be our guestcolumn that greater collaboration between pharmacists and general practice is one way to unlock the additional value pharmacists can provide Australia’s healthcare system.
“There are many other areas for greater collaboration that are worth exploring with other health organisations,” Senator Di Natale says.
“These include the role for pharmacists in treating minor conditions, enhancing immunisation coverage and dispensing the oral contraceptive pill.”
The multi award-winning Australian Pharmacist journal is distributed monthly to PSA members as a member benefit.
Selected excerpts, including the cover story, can be accessed at www.psa.org.au