The NZ Pharmacy Council

I had an interesting talk with a lady at NetPharmacy today. We were discussing a product called No Jet Lag, which is a homeopathic jet lag "remedy".

The takeaway message that I got was that NetPharmacy did not consider the ethical issue of selling a placebo to an unknowing customer base to be something that bothered them. The conversation made it clear that they sold it because people wanted to buy it. So profit before ethics.

According to the Pharmacy Council Code of Ethics, Section 6.9;

6.9 Only purchase, supply or promote any medicine, complementary therapy, herbal remedy or other healthcare product where there is no reason to doubt its quality or safety and when there is credible evidence of efficacy.

I find it plausible that any pharmacy in NZ that is stocking homeopathy is in breach of the qualifier "and when there is credible evidence of efficacy". I'm going to fall under the informal logical fallacy of "argument from personal incredulity" but I find it hard to believe that the people running pharmacies don't know that homeopathy is a placebo given the education they go through.

I'm curious to know that the consequences are of a pharmacy breaching the Code of Ethics. To this end I've just sent an OIA to the Ministry of Health. The Council was established under the Health Practitioners competence Assurance Act 2003 (HPCAA). The request is to establish if the Council is a public authority. If so, they're open to OIA requests too.

Things here could get interesting if so...

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