Tag Archives: money

The endless cycle of bad excuses for selling homeopathic products in pharmacies

An investigation by the McGill Office for Science and Society reveals that 2/3 of pharmacies in Montreal sell oscillococcinum, a homeopathic product more diluted than the equivalent of an atom in an entire Universe filled with water:


https://mcgill.ca/oss/article/health-quackery/two-thirds-montreal-pharmacies-sell-quack-flu-buster

Are you surprised?

I’m not.

Back in Sept. 2012, when I started Le Pharmachien (the original French version of The Pharmafist), my first post ever was a sarcastic video about homeopathy, and about how absurd it is that we sell these products.

Since then, not much has changed. We still use the same fake arguments to justify ourselves.

“IT’S POPULAR, CLIENTS ASK FOR IT, AND THEY’RE SATISFIED!”

What difference does it make if it’s popular or not? Healthcare and science are not popularity contests.

If people want to buy homeopathy, fine. But our role as pharmacists is to provide advice and care based on scientific evidence. When homeopathic products are sold in pharmacies, it gives the false impression that we endorse them.

Interestingly, most pharmacists don’t trust homeopathic products at all… but are stuck with them on the shelves. It’s a problem.

AT LEAST THERE’S NO RISK!”

Not true. If people neglect to seek medical care because they trust homeopathy, it’s extremely hazardous.

There are tons of examples, but here’s one from Canada :

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/tamara-lovett-holistic-medicine-trial-1.3869951

“IT’S A GOOD PLACEBO!”

ALL healthcare interventions generate a placebo effect: medications, surgeries, exams, talking to patients… These interventions are supported by scientific evidence, and have a placebo effect as a BONUS.

Meanwhile, homeopathic products are 100% placebo, but pretend otherwise on their labeling and are sold at ridiculously high price tags. How is that acceptable?

Also, by opposition to what most people think, from a pharmacy owner’s perspective, it’s not “money-related”; margins are low and associated profits are negligible (in my experience, 80-90% of profits in a typical pharmacy come from prescription drugs). Who’s making money, then? Manufacturers.

At the end of the day, those who could really make a difference blame each other and make bad excuses in an endless cycle. This graph summarizes the situation:

Will someone ever take responsibility for the problem?

Let’s be clear: Health Canada will not stop approving these products. Some countries have set limits, but none has officially banned them. So we have to stop waiting for them to make a move.

In my opinion, the simplest solution is that a pharmacy chain takes a stand and announces that it will no longer sell homeopathic products. With a bit of luck, others will eventually follow.

So, who will be first?

P.S. Oh by the way, I’d like to salute the Quebec Order of Pharmacists, who stated, in response to the McGill investigation, that a pharmacist who recommends homeopathy by claiming that it is effective would “place oneself in a situation of disciplinary misconduct”. BOOM!

TOP 10 useless remedies for the common cold

The cold season has begun.

But there’s something worse out there: the plethora of esoteric remedies to allegedly prevent and cure the common cold, like…

  • Rubbing Vicks on your feet
  • Sticking your face above a bowl of hot, scented water
  • A swig of gin and/or cayenne and/or oregano oil
  • Sweating out the virus
  • The mustard plaster
  • Flu busters
  • Putting something in your bum (like suppositories)
  • Chicken noodle soup
  • Cough syrups
  • Antibiotics

Being a pharmacist, I get asked about those all the time. And really, I don’t care if people wanna use medication, natural health products or home remedies… as long as what they do is safe, effective, evidence-based and science-based.

Would you like to know what works and what doesn’t? Here are the TOP 10 useless remedies for the common cold. Please laugh at each of them. They deserve it.

Translated by Valentin Nguyen; edits and proofreading by Robyn Penney.

 

 

Rubbing Vicks on your feet

Rubbing Vicks on your feet continued

 

 

 

Sticking your face above a bowl of hot, scented water

Sticking your face above a bowl of hot, scented water continued

 

 

 

The mouth-burning contest

The mouth-burning contest continued

The mouth-burning contest continued even more

 

 

 

Sweating out the virus

 

 

 

The mustard plaster

The mustard plaster continued

 

 

 

Flu busters

Flu busters 06b

 

 

 

Putting something in your bumPutting something in your bum continued

 

 

 

Chicken noodle soupChicken noodle soup continued

 

 

Cough syrups

Cough syrups continued

 

 

Antibiotics

Antibiotics continued

 

 

Conclusion

 

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Anxiety… prisoner of the metal collar

Stress and anxiety are helpful in life.

Imagine you’re hiking in Alaska, and you suddenly find yourself in front of a Kodiak bear that’s fresh out of hibernation and looking for his first meal. You can actually see drool coming out of his mouth, and the only defense you have is a spoon…

…Okay, bad example.

Let’s say you’re allergic to wasps. Stress is what tells you to be careful when they’re nearby. When you see a wasp, anxiety is what drives you to move in the opposite direction. These are normal defense mechanisms, and they’ve allowed human beings to evolve.

However, with evolution, the causes of anxiety changed in modern times: work, family, money, health, and so on. Cavemen didn’t care about all of that… but today, these are the things that stress us the most.

Today I’m going to talk about Generalized Anxiety Disorder, like I did before with depression.  Although it’s a really common disorder, few people easily accept it or feel comfortable talking about it.

Note: You might need a little effort and imagination to get into this comic strip… but you’ll definitely appreciate it more if you try to go along with my unusual analogies. Enjoy!

Translated by Ellie Rieber with edits by Patricia Rainville; proofread by Stéphanie Alcaraz-Robinson.

 

How the electric metal collar works

The anxiety thought experiment test

 

Panic attacks and real-life concerns

 

 

Going to the doctor and physical symptoms of anxiety

 

The psychological and chemical keys of the anxiety collar

 

The amygdala and the prefrontal cortex in the brain

Anxiety denial and how to test yourself and others

 

What to you for your family and friends and hope

 

 

CBT and a book recommendation

 

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5 badly informed opinions about vaccines

Initially, I wanted to create a comic about the influenza (flu) vaccine.

My goal was to convince you that this vaccine is effective, safe and essential to modern society. Because that’s what I think.

But by doing this, I would have skipped steps … because before trusting the flu vaccine, you must first trust vaccines.

You’ve probably heard of semi-famous people’s efforts to stop vaccination in USA:

But they’re not the only ones. All over the world, tons of people are opposed to vaccines. Many of them are intelligent, highly educated people who seem to know the topic extremely well. Some of them are even healthcare professionals, including physicians.

So, who should you believe? I can easily understand why you’re confused when you hear stuff like:

  • “Vaccines cause autism!”
  • “Vaccines are released on the market before we know they’re safe!”
  • “The diseases we vaccinate against are long gone!”

There’s much to do to put the record straight.

So the flu vaccine will have to wait for another comic. In the meantime, let’s start from the beginning.

Translation by Olivier Bernard, proofreading by Lauren Knight.

5 badly informed opinions about vaccines

Live attenuated and inactivated vaccine

Subunit and conjugate vaccine

The great paradox of vaccination

Poliomyelitis , measles , meningitis and preventable diseases

Vaccines are not 100% safe , but nothing is

Making vaccines isn't even good business for big pharma

There is no single scientific evidence that vaccines systematically cause autism

The Wakefield study , thimerosal and aluminum adjuvants

Homeopathic vaccines , gluten-free diet ... nothing can replace a vaccine

Open letter to people and parents worried about vaccines

Open letter to the anti-vaccine lobby

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