10 pharmacy products you don't need

These pharmacy products will set you back some dollars, but they probably won’t make much difference to your health beyond a placebo effect.

What items would you add to this list of bad medicine?


Rather than create a (probably huge) laundry list of specific products that are little or no use let’s look at the broader picture. Modern oz pharmacies sell a huge number of products that could be sold by a supermarket or corner store. What is wrong with that you say?

A large number claim some kind of benefit to either health or appearance, or both. The cosmetics industry has been on to this confusion for a long time, hinting that their magic ingredient(s) will improve some aspect of health, often skin, as well as make you look good, be filled with energy etc.

The problem that I have is when the pharmacist confuses their role as trusted professional, who makes sure you get the right drugs and use them correctly, with their role as shopkeeper pushing the latest fad. They even wear white coats just like on TV! I just got this great new stuff from the Chemist, he said it will make me live longer, smell better and enlarge my … you get the idea. Of course most pharmacists wouldn’t be so unethical as to actively push something that was useless but that doesn’t prevent them from stocking many such products and letting the association with the pharmaceuticals and the professional rub off on them.


Only 10?

Every time I go to a chemist I am astounded the amount of quack remedies which are available. Many have attractive and medcine looking labelling but use the words like ‘may’ ‘might’ and other weasel words when it comes to the products efficacy.

I think there would be possibly 10 shopping trolleys worth of products rather than 10 products. In a large chemist there are possibly two aisles which could easily disappear and not cause any change in the health outcomes of its customers.


Chemists in general have become bazaars selling anything which can remotely be related to ‘health’ by marketers. While they say they are not recommending the non scientific ‘alternative’ products they are doing so by default, utilising the credibility and inherited trust the population gives Chemists.

I believe it’s time to remove the mumbo jumbo treatments from Chemists. They should only stock and be dispensers of medicines and medical aids which have been scientifically tested and approved as having at least some benefit.

So if there is no evidence for the efficacy, it should not be there!


Indeed, I guess the jelly beans and other lollies they sell are ensuring continuing business in future years, when all that sugar has done its damage!


One reason they may sell the Jelly Beans and other lollies beyond the lolly factor is for Diabetics who may need an emergency packet in case of hypos (it is a treatment recommended for this). I’m not saying they don’t sell a lot of other stuff or even the lollies for the other reason of profit which is not a bad thing in itself as it helps keep a business afloat. Putting it on another foot why are supermarkets allowed to sell medicinal products on their shelves without any specialized staff to ensure correct application, they also sell “alternative and supplementary” products.


As I have never had the need to look at the ‘lollies’ chemists sell, are these special medical ones different to those available elsewhere say at the corner shop or petrol station?


No most are similar/same products but as a Chemist having them on hand is something that has been offered as long as I remember. Some do thought have the Pharmacy Guild logo attached and many are “glucose enriched”.


Country town pharmacies have for more than a century sold more than genuinely essential prescription medicines and supplies of bandages.

Two of my much older family members made that their profession. They also sold toiletries, common cures, cameras and film, giftware, fine bone English China, watches, perfume and Czechoslovakian crystal. Were even open on 7 days a week in the 1920’s, same hours as the local doctor was on call!

That is how they stayed in business. The better the town doctor and treatment the fewer the needs for legal drugs. What call if when the need was desperate they were no longer in business. Fortunately Oz didn’t quite go the path of the US Drug Stores selling ice cream and Coca Cola.

The big chains are just following that tradition, only there is not that much room left for the individual.

p.s. And they even weighed your baby for you for free!


There are huge divisions between professional integrity and being able to practice as a Pharmacist in a world of cheap over-the-counter drugs and “rubber duck” culture.
I appreciate going to my local Pharmacy. Our pharmacist knows me and my family and has a pretty good idea of our family health. She also knew my husband’s parents into the end of their lives. I feel lucky that our local area is still enough for a small Pharmacy to operate against the juggernauts of self-prescription.