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A list of effective medicines is needed

From Mr R. Sturgess, MRPharmS

Robert Woodward, in somewhat intemperate terms, objects to complementary and alternative medicine being subjected to evidence-based proof of efficacy and takes Edzard Ernst and his colleagues to task for backing this course (PJ, 7 January, p12). Professor Ernst in the same issue, having the evidence on his side, is able to argue his case more moderately. Their views illustrate the divide that exists. CAM is above science, say its devotees. Scientists ask for proof of efficacy.

The question for the pharmacy profession is clear. Do we embrace science or well-meaning fringe therapies? There can only be one answer. Pharmacy is either science-based or nothing.

That need not preclude individual pharmacists who think, along with the majority of the general public, that CAM has something to offer, from involving themselves with alternative therapies. But they should do so in their own time and not on registered premises.

As I have proposed (PJ, 14 May 2005, p590–2 PDF (100K)), the best solution to the problem would be for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, in conjunction with Professor Ernst’s department, to draw up a list of complementary medicines, proven to be effective in clinical trials, and have pharmacies supply only these.

Ray Sturgess
Knaresborough, North Yorkshire

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 10020786

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