Last week, C+D reported that pharmacist and homeopath David Needleman had suggested that complementary medicines could be an alternative revenue stream for pharmacies struggling with the funding cuts across England.
Responding to C+D's question on what its stance on complementary medicines is, the GPhC said its new standards for pharmacy professionals outline how pharmacists are expected to behave when it comes to alternative medicines, including homeopathy.
The regulator referred specifically to the first standard in its new guidance – which came into force on May 12 – which states pharmacy professionals must “give [patients] all relevant information in a way they can understand, so they can make informed decisions and choices”.
Pharmacy professionals must also “recognise their own values and beliefs, but not impose them on other people”, the GPhC states in the standards.
This includes decisions about which products to sell, the GPhC told C+D yesterday (June 20).
“Scientifically unproven therapies”
Commenting below C+D's article on Mr Needleman's comments, community pharmacist Arun Bains said: “Maybe we deserve a funding cut if this is the way the ‘business’ responds in a crisis, by selling scientifically unproven therapies.”
Community pharmacist Clive Hodgson agreed, stating that complementary medicines “have almost no value to public health”.
“Endorsing and promoting snake oil, such as homeopathy, for financial gain is ethically totally unacceptable,” he added.
Regulatory analyst Peter Blanchard claimed “the vast majority of homeopathic medicines in the UK are not registered”, which makes advertising such services “problematic”.
Community pharmacist Michael Franks said while he believes “homeopathy is rubbish” and he does not think pharmacists should be promoting complementary medicines, “if a patient is taking excessive amounts of potentially harmful drugs which are not really required, I can see the case of substituting [them] with a placebo”.
Baseless quackery never saved anybody from anything. Financial pressure might make it tempting but professional integrity must resist. https://t.co/OHOcOBf8Fw— Kath Anderson (@Kathfanderson) June 16, 2017
I've sold far less pointless homeopathy than dispensed scripts of GP's pointless antibiotics.— thisIStheafterlife (@SavingTheNHS) June 15, 2017
I often discuss homeopathy with pts, by that I mean I convince pts not to use it after their GP / nurse / health visitor recommends it!— Jonathan Burton (@JonnyB_at_RMP) June 15, 2017
Homeopathy could dilute pharmacists' credibility to vanishingly small levels https://t.co/ymnbdv2zhq— Steve Canham (@steve_canham) June 15, 2017
Seriously .. pharmacist and homeopathy should never appear in the same sentence. In fact the word homeopathy should be bannished forever.— Ali (@pharma_ali) June 15, 2017
Got to say, I would actively avoid any pharmacist punting homeopathic remedies. Others would too, I expect.— Les Wood (@skyeles) June 15, 2017