The results of the survey were announced at the International Pharmaceutical Federation’s World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science, which took place in September in Scotland. In all 200 pharmacy professionals were surveyed and 63 percent supported the view that homeopathic preparations had no place in modern pharmacies. The poll included pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, and pharmacy students.
A spokesperson from the International Pharmaceutical Federation said to Hospital Healthcare magazine: “Congress delegates in a non-binding vote during a session supported a debate motion that pharmacists should not sell or dispense homeopathic products.”
The commentator added: “The vote was 63 percent in favour of the motion. It was made clear during the debate, however, that this isn’t the official policy of FIP. This issue is sure to remain topical among the profession for some time to come.”
Homeopathy refers to a system of alternative medicine. A central principle of the “treatment” is that “like cures like” – that a substance that causes certain symptoms can also help to remove those symptoms.
For many scientists, homeopathic preparations represent a pseudoscience and they are not considered to be effective for treating any condition, with homeopathy being of no greater benefit than a placebo. This point is supported by a U.K. 2010 House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report on homeopathy.
The U.K. NHS decided in 2018 that it would no longer routinely fund homeopathy, due to a lack of ‘robust evidence’. This followed a review into health service costings and the findings of a University of Oxford study that showed more than 2,700 homeopathy prescriptions were issued by genera medical practitioners in England practices between December 2016 and May 2017.
In terms of the poll, the International Pharmaceutical Federation has indicated it acknowledges the debate and it will take this into consideration the opinion of the pharmacy community in any future policy work.