Why should pharmacists be trained on homeopathic medicines?
Regulation of homeopathic medicines
Homeopathic medicines have been regulated as drugs by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since the passing of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938. The medicines have NDC numbers[i] and are officially included in the compendium of the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States.[ii]
Increasing demand from patients and physicians
Sales of homeopathic medicines in the United States grew steadily from 1990 to 2011. In 2006, Americans spent more than $165 million on these drugs.[iii] Homeopathic medicines are integrated into the medical practice of many European countries, as well as in India and Brazil.
The Center for Education and Development of Homeopathy (CEDH) has trained nearly 600 physicians, physician assistants and nurses since 2006 via a 136-hour certified course on clinical homeopathy. The course is accredited with 104 hours of AAFP elective CME credits.[iv]
Increasing body of clinical, physical, biological studies
Basic scientific research suggests the use of highly diluted solutions may not be as implausible as previously claimed. Several studies using in vitro experimental models show a significant difference between the activity or the structure of homeopathic solutions and a control solution.[v]-[vi] There are also several high-quality clinical studies suggesting homeopathic medicines are different than placebo.[vii]-[viii]
Pharmacists are interested in knowing more
Forty-two percent of pharmacists would “probably” participate in an educational homeopathic program,[ix] according to a survey from the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) conducted in 2000.
Homeopathic medicines are, for the most part, unbranded and can be including in continuing education programs. Pharmacists are trained in pharmacognosy and toxicology, which are the bases of homeopathy. Therefore, pharmacists have the best possible technical background to understand and recommend homeopathic medicines.
Boiron cough, cold & flu medicines, including Chestal, Coldcalm & Oscillococcinum, are recommended by registered pharmacist Gary Kracoff with Johnson Compounding & Wellness Center in Waltham, Mass.
These medical professionals have been compensated by Boiron USA for their time.
[i] U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Sec. 400.400 Conditions Under Which Homeopathic Medicines Can be Marketed (CPG 7132.15).
[iii] Johnson T., et al. Where Does Homeopathy Fit in Pharmacy Practice? American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education 2007; 71 (1) Article 07.
[v] Rey, L. Thermoluminescence of ultra-high dilutions of lithium chloride and sodium chloride. Physica A 323 (2003) 67-74.
[vi] Doutremepuich, C., et al. Effects of Ultra-Low Dose Aspirin on Embolization in a Model of Laser-Induced Thrombus Formation. Seminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis 1996 Vol 22, Sup 1.
[vii] Kleijinen, J., et al. Clinical trials of homeopathy. British Medical Journal 1991; 302:316-23.
[viii] Linde, K., et al. Are the clinical effects of homeopathy placebo effects? Comparative study of placebo-controlled trials. The Lancet 1997; 350: 834-43.
[ix] Sayner-Flusche A, et al. Attitudes and opinions of the American Pharmaceutical Association. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2000; 40: 259-61.