Medications with no clinical worth sold at pharmacies

On pseudoephidrine alternatives - The “active” ingredient in the alternative PE products has no evidence it works unless taken as a nasal spray. Unfortunately, for anyone wanting the products to dry their nose, they are sold in tablet form. So we have a government approved product, that chemists are encouraged to sell as a first preference, that doesn’t work.

Just curious what others think.


Pharmacies selling this snake oil should be closed and their proprietors de-registered.


Fair go Fred in the last 5 years I have only encountered 2 pharmacies that were not selling snake oil in many forms if you shut the snake oil sellers you will also have to shut down the free range and organic scams as well of course the bottled water floggers


I suspect you’d only have to shut down a few to put the fear of the gods into the rest, who’d remove the snake oil pretty quickly.

And while organic is certainly a scam, at least free range is empirically demonstrable. :wink:


Almost everything sold in pharmacies is of dubious health value. Frankly a lot of money is being flushed down the toilet each day because of this.


On ‘medications’ with no clinical worth - Unfortunately, pharmacies are businesses. They have pretty much all gone into selling ‘essential oils’, hundreds of different combinations of vitamins and/or minerals, and of course the counter will be covered in advertising for the latest ‘hangover cure’. One might wish that they could stick to proven remedies, but they must go where the market demands - regardless of that market’s ignorance.

Are there any pharmacists here? We know that you sell these things because they’re very profitable, and that you (pharmacists) know that they’re rubbish (apart from the placebo effect). But how do you reconcile the fact that you’re trusted more than the supermarket because of your professional knowledge and presumed integrity, and you argue that prescription meds shouldn’t be sold in supermarkets because they don’t have your professional standing, and yet you destroy your professional standing and whatever ethics you may have by selling water and sugar pills disguised as medicines?


To return to the ‘other’ subject, I spoke some years ago with the local pharmacist about some of the garbage I have seen in other pharmacies, and she promised that they would not head in that direction. Unfortunately, economics does not work quite so simply, and the local pharmacy has started to sell copper, and magnetic bracelets, and other flim-flammery. I have protested, but they need to make money on something and they don’t get much margin on prescriptions or on over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. Worse, they will lose much of the OTC income with the change to codeine laws, as medications with codeine were one thing that supermarkets are not permitted to sell. Why go to the pharmacy if you can get the same paracetamol tablets in the supermarket, while grabbing the daily paper [cough] and some milk [sputter]?

I would love my local pharmacy to be entirely fact-based, but that would mean getting rid of the scented candles they sell my wife, the fancy shampoos and other hair products, the 57 varieties of soap substitute (why would anyone want goat’s milk in their soup, let alone their soap?), most of the wall full of vitamins… the pharmacy would all-but disappear!

In reality, our pharmacies have changed enormously over the last century. You can’t walk in and get an elixir of opium to cure the baby’s cough, or ask the pharmacist to mix up their ‘special brew’ for your headache. Most pharmacies no longer have the equipment to mix up any ‘special brew’ - you need to find a compounding pharmacy for this. On the positive side, you can be fairly certain that any real medicine the pharmacist gives you is what was prescribed and will not (normally) kill you if taken in accordance with the doctor’s instructions.

To sum up, pharmacists sell quackery because their customers demand it. They do not have the economic power to say no, and will lose even more options for making money when they lose painkillers with codeine as a distinguishing product.

And so we gain economic efficiency, and safer medicines.

/s (sarcasm used in the final sentence)


Post of the year. :slight_smile:

Undoubtedly true, but that doesn’t excuse their use of their professional standing in legitimising this nonsense. There must be other things they could do support their business - perhaps they could sell hardware or shoes. At the very least, they could display signs above the shelves of sugar pills, vitamins and magnetic geegaws saying something like “This pharmacy does not endorse these products. There is no evidence of their clinical worth.”


Some do, eg HomyPed, Dr Scholls, and others :expressionless:

Re hardware, since we blindly follow the worst of the USA, it is only a matter of time.

Well…yes. They were only suggestions of course.

If Postulative’s right - and I don’t doubt that s/he is - they need to sell something other than prescriptions in order to turn a profit. Maybe they could adopt the idea of the US “drug store” of the past and sell milkshakes, “sodas” and ice creams!

“I’d like a banana split, a lime spider and this antibiotic prescription, please.” :slight_smile:


Alas, I have had years arguing with my GP about the statins he prescribed that were slowly killing my long muscles, liver and me. Eventually he agreed I was “allergic” so I could go on the non-statin just in case my slightly elevated cholesterol etc etc. The point being that “real medicines” are made by commercial enterprises trying to make their profits where the business drivers appear to be about not being found out rather exhaustive safety testing.

So who should we trust?

Peer reviewed scientific and medical literature.

Perfect? Oh no. But it’s by far the best we’ve got.


3 posts were merged into an existing topic: Drugs and their effect on the body

In response to Baycreek - Fred has already answered this , but I might as well add to it since I’m feeling unusually loquacious :wink: .

Your doctor may have been wrong in prescribing statins - I would not wish to double-guess his work, but we know more about them today than we did ten years ago. That is the story of science - we learn by doing, and by experimenting. We simply do not have the perfect experiment to show that something is the best possible treatment for every patient with a particular health problem.

On the bright side, science builds upon what we already know (hopefully - and there is an entire separate discussion of this under the subject of the philosophy of science). Science takes something, and improves it - or sees something strange and tries to identify it. Science looks into reports of the paranormal, and finds the microphone under the desk; it investigates bigfoot, and shows that two hours after a person walks in snow the way in which their footprint melts the snow makes it look enormous. Science does not simply accept that things are ineffable.

Even one hundred years ago, this was a new thing. Doctors thought that they would never be able to operate on the heart and lungs, because they could not safely enter the chest cavity. As for brain surgery… crazy talk! Two hundred years ago, most medicine was based upon the body’s humors - an idea that our health was affected by the level of blood, yellow bile, black bile and phlegm in our bodies. This concept, and the associated ‘treatments’ (using blood-letting, emetics, purges and so forth, was around for over 2,000 years. It took that long for people to start testing the theory, and the treatments that were based upon it.

Of course, we have other alternatives today that are embraced by the title ‘alternative medicine’. This includes chiropractic, homeopathy and acupuncture, as well as some other forms of quackery. There is, in reality, only one form of medicine. It has been tested, scientifically and rigorously. These ‘alternatives’ are not really ‘alternative medicine’, because if they worked they would be medicine - along with other strange ideas that were dismissed, then tested, and adopted in reality-based medicine. The best that these alternatives can do is provide a placebo effect - I think it worked, therefore I feel better.

With that said, I will abandon this thread, and leave others to rage about ‘but my chiropractor said…’ and ‘your doctors are just part of the conspiracy to drug us and…’. My work here is done :smiling_imp: .


panlezark - Absolutely right. Useless product. Thanks illicit drug manufacturers for causing the general public to no longer have access to pseudoephedrine that actually works.

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When I last looked pseudoephedrine was a Schedule 3 substance ie a Pharmacist ONLY medicine, and could be purchased without a prescription.

This is what the Pharmacy Board says about Pseudoephedrine:

3 Pseudoephedrine
Pseudoephedrine is used as a precursor in the illicit manufacture of amphetamines. It is extracted from products in which pseudoephedrine is the sole active ingredient or is one of several active ingredients. Extra obligations, which vary between States and Territories, devolve on pharmacists in managing requests to supply
products containing it.

Requests for pseudoephedrine are to be treated circumspectly because of manipulative behaviour on the part of drug seekers. A genuine therapeutic need is to be established by careful questioning, including when requested on prescription.

Only one package is to be supplied at a time unless there are exceptional circumstances, documentation of which should be kept. The sale of multiple packs of pseudoephedrine-containing products (other than in exceptional circumstances but including on prescription) and failure to comply with the local regulations applying to Schedule 3 (pharmacist only) medicines and these guidelines may be considered as unprofessional conduct.

Pharmacists should ensure that stock levels are kept to no more than one week’s supply and any reserve stock is to be kept out of public view. Suspicious requests for pseudoephedrine products should be communicated to that section of the police that deals with drug crimes. The Board endorses the use of Project STOP as a means of assisting the pharmacist in determining whether pseudoephedrine should be supplied when a person requests it. All purchases, including those on prescription, should be entered on Project STOP.

If you have genuine need for a pseudoephedrine product you should be able to purchase from a pharmacy if you follow the above guidelines


I used to live in the US a lifetime ago…and you actually could get banana splits, and milk and bread. LOL

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Because I’m “older” and have worked in the medical field (as an admin or secretary etc) I know which brands are good, and for instance will ask for “sudafed original” for which they ask an ID for. But when I sent my daughter to the chemist to get me some they sold her a “new” sudafed that did nothing at all. I called the chemist and asked and he said I was right the original worked better but my daughter hadn’t asked. I think this is appalling…because if you don’t know, why would you ask for a particular kind. You would just ask for “Sudafed”. Same thing goes for the Benadryl cough syrup. There used to be only one. Nothing will cure a cough. But Benadryl “original” will help you through your cough until it gets better. Once again my daughter was sick and I suggested Sudafed. It didn’t work at all. Again I called the chemist and he said that the original requires identification and it has to be asked for. He admitted the new ones didn’t work as well. Also, the “originals” all come in much smaller sizes. People abuse medication the same way they do drugs and so they can’t sell larger sizes which means you pay more for less. I think it’s shame that people that do the right thing, don’t abuse meds, provide and ID get penalized for the things people do illegally. I also think it’s disgraceful that the chemist KNOWS the new drug doesn’t work and still sells it first. If I hadn’t worked in the field I was in I wouldn’t have a clue. I see people at the chemist ask for cough mixture etc and I cringe at the advice they are given.

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Well, just show your ID and they’ll happily sell you pseudoephedrine. The general public definitely still has access to it, just not as really as before.