Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Mmmm, Prostate Cordial
I went to the pharmacy today to pick up some moisturiser, as it is reaching the time of year here where my skin decides to spontaneously peel off. That is, if I don't moisturise with some heavy-duty moisturiser.
I was simply astounded at increase in the number of "alternative" therapies being promoted on the shelves. Including "prostate cordial". Seriously. The mind boggles.
Now, I realise that there are a number of things that conventional medicine does not treat particularly well at the moment (although new and wondrous things are always in development), and people have every right to choose their own forms of treatment. This is not an argument against alternative therapies.
It is just that it seemed like there was something really wrong about selling alternative therapies at a pharmacy. The public at large tend to trust pharmacies and pharmacists, and a product that is sold at a pharmacy is more likely to be seen as accepted or endorsed by the medical community.
Nothing makes me more angry than people who suffer because they listened to some "alternative" health care provider who told them some unproven treatment would heal them where conventional medicine would not. I'm talking about the people who hawk alternative treatments to people in the early stages of cancer, which at that point is entirely treatable. When the patient persists with this alternative treatment and dies when they had a very good chance of going into remission because the cancer was caught early, I believe that the person who "advised" them about the alternative healthcare should be subject to criminal charges. This is the kind of "alternative therapy" that gets makes me furious.
My concern is that, by selling weird alternative products on their shelves next to more reputable products, a pharmacy business is endorsing them as a product of equal value, at least in the eyes of the members of the public who don't like medications and get drawn in by claims of a product being "natural". The last time I bought cough syrup, the girl behind the counter of the pharmacy tried to get me to buy some herbal elixir instead. It cost three times as much. I politely requested the regular variety.
Where does accountability for this kind of thing lie? I am not suggesting that all of these situations are life-threatening. But surely there should be some standards for selling what are essentially expensive placebos in the same business where most people go to get their regular medication?
How do qualified pharmacists feel about this kind of thing?