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Evidence-based medicine

GPs in Australia urge pharmacists not to sell homeopathic products

Pharmacists in Australia have been asked to stop selling or supporting homoeopathic products by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP). In the image, a person holds up a small bottle of echinacea

Source: Agencja Fotograficzna Caro / Alamy

Medical professionals should not recommend that patients use homeopathic products, say GPs in Australia

Pharmacists in Australia have been asked to stop selling or supporting homeopathic products by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP).

In a May 2015 position statement, the RACGP also said that medical professionals should not practise homeopathy and they should not recommend that patients use homeopathic products. The statement follows on from a report on homeopathy produced by the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia, released in March 2015.

The report concluded that there is no evidence that homeopathy has any health benefits over and above placebo and that there are “no health conditions for which there is reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective”.

At that time, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) said that 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,” it said. However, the PSA later complained that it had been misrepresented by the media, with headlines such as ‘Pharmacists reluctant to give up homeopathy’ appearing on news sites for doctors.

In the UK, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society says homeopathy should not be provided on the NHS and that if patients want to purchase homeopathic products from a pharmacy, the pharmacist should inform patients that there is no evidence of their effectiveness.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20068662

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