For the occasion, I’ve created a comic that will be distributed to pharmacies throughout Quebec and provided to clients who come in for a new prescription.
is to explain what happens while one waits for their medication, which is a
total mystery for most people! Ultimately, the goal is to demystify the work of
pharmacists, and to show what we do – and can do – for the public.
I like the idea of learning without realizing it, hence the absurd visual metaphors. I hope people will receive the comic in the waiting room and be like “What is that?!“. This sounds like a good starting point 🙂
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.
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.
Some of the newfound concerns are completely justified, but some are not. Actually, it’s become one of these black-or-white craze, where one website tells you to cut all sugar from your diet, whereas another one claims it’s harmless.
P.S. This comic is NOT AT ALL an endorsement of the ketogenic or low-carb-high-fat (LCHF) diets. Both are ill-advised for most people. Too much sugar OR too much fat isn’t a good idea; that’s the whole point of a balanced, plant-rich diet (e.g. the Mediterranean diet).
I know a few. Let’s see: snake venom, the botulinum toxin, the tetanus toxin… well, that’s it. I can’t name any more of them.
Unfortunately, the word “toxin” has entered the popular language and is now used for pretty much anything: pollutants, heavy metals, fecal matter, microbes, gluten… hell, even stress supposedly generates toxins.
According to some shady individuals, toxins are everywhere. They also talk about “metabolic waste” that accumulates and must be eliminated from our bodies; otherwise it’ll make us sick.
At the holistic shop (and at the pharmacy, sadly), you’ll find a range of products that promise to eliminate these toxins and “clean up the system.” They often carry statements such as:
Internal cleansing program
Supports a healthy liver
Protects and eliminates liver congestion
Promotes fat burning and weight loss (yeah, because that’s the real goal)
Manufacturers of these products make a fortune after the holiday season as they manage to convince people that they must “find balance after this period of excess“.
Unfortunately, detox is a huge scam. So-called “cleanses” contain nothing but obscure herbal mixtures with no real purpose, as well as diuretics and laxatives that make you go to the toilet more frequently. Sounds like fun, huh?
For educational purposes, let’s laugh a little at these ridiculous products. Let’s also examine the key deceits their manufacturers use to extort money from people. All statements found below were taken directly from their websites.