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Pharmacists say they still lack access to independent, evidence-based information about complementary and alternative medicines

Australian pharmacists interviewed over the applicability of a new ethical framework for CAM advice and sales say they still need greater access to independent, evidence-based research around complementary and alternative medicines.

New research based on focus group interviews with pharmacists showed that the participants endorsed the newly developed CAM ethical framework, while identifying areas where they believed more work was required.

A pharmacist must be available to provide that advice and to provide sufficient information to the consumer such that they can make an informed decision with regard to the purchase of the complementary medicine.

The key responsibilities of pharmacists when selling complementary medicines:

1.Pharmacists should provide evidence-based recommendations to consumers regarding complementary medicines
2. Pharmacists should train all staff in a pharmacy to ensure that they provide evidence-based recommendations regarding complementary medicines and refer to a pharmacist when required
3. When providing advice, pharmacists should provide sufficient information for consumers to make informed decisions regarding complementary medicines
4. Pharmacists should setup the pharmacy so that consumers are provided an offer of advice from a pharmacist when purchasing complementary medicines; pharmacists should be available to provide that advice
5. Pharmacists must be vigilant for possible harms related to complementary medicines and intervene if risk of harm is significant
The majority of the 17 pharmacists who participated in the focus group sessions found the framework “acceptable for practice and feasible for implementation with targeted support”.

They identified two important areas for targeted support in implementing the framework:

  • improved access to evidence-based information resources on complementary medicines; and
  • independent evidence-based education and training on complementary medicine for pharmacists and pharmacy support staff.

Source: , viewed 12 January 2021.

iTherapeutics is delighted to offer our pharmacists the two education modules below, which can help to gain the necessary knowledge to help consumers in the purchase and consumption of complimentary medicines.


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