Pharmacy Bullshit Rating

By July 21, 2017Society

The hunt to find Australia’s best pharmacy is now on, with applications for ‘Pharmacy of the Year 2018’ now open, with the winner being named by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia. These are described as being the benchmark for recognising excellence in the community pharmacy industry, because they seek out highly motivated, innovative and adaptable pharmacies that strive to “provide more health care in even more ways”1.

Unfortunately, some pharmacies still sell homeopathic products (calling them medicines would be lying), despite the National Health and Medical Research Council review concluding there was no reliable evidence that it could treat any health conditions2. Under the Pharmacy Board of Australia code of conduct, pharmacists are required to practise “in accordance with the current and accepted evidence base of the health professions, including clinical outcomes” and “facilitating the quality use of therapeutic products based on the best available evidence and the patient and client’s needs”3,4.

It has been reported that nearly one third of pharmacists are recommending ‘complementary medicines’ to clients, despite there being no evidence that they work5. A Four Corners program has stated that pharmacists embracing such products has put them in conflict with the Australian Medical Association6. Not only that, but it puts them in conflict with the code of conduct of the Pharmacy Board of Australia (see above), which refers to evidence, something that is completely lacking for homeopathic ‘medicines’.

I suggest a grading of pharmacies depending of the proportion (as a %) of their shelving, ostensibly for medicines, given over to products for which there is no clinical evidence of efficacy. Perhaps this could be called the Pharmacy Bullshit Rating (PBR). A pharmacy selling only products for which there is clinical evidence for efficacy would have a PBR of 0%, while a homeopathic pharmacy (oxymoronic though that is), which only sold homeopathic products, would be given a PBR of 100%. Submissions are accepted in the comments section.




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