The Ethical Implications of Rexall’s Dubious Homeopathic Offerings

Main ingredient in homeopathy

From ethicist Dr. Chris MacDonald, a column on Rexall’s recent advertisements promoting homeopathy:

The problem, of course, is there’s no reliable evidence that homeopathy works, nor any plausible reason to think that it even could work. In commercial contexts, that’s pretty bad. And it’s worse still when the company selling the stuff is a company people rely on for competent health advice, and when that company leverages the credibility of a licensed health profession to promote bogus wares.

And importantly:

The commercial world is full of scams, and all too often people with something to sell have unwarranted faith in their products. Greed and ignorance are nothing new, but that doesn’t mean they are excusable. Companies that claim not just to provide a product, but to educate and take care of consumers, ought to do better. They should do their best to sell only those products that they, and their customers, are justified in believing in.

More here.

I’ve written about the ethics of selling homeopathy before.  As XKCD said about pharmacies selling homeopathy,

 Telling someone who trusts you that you’re giving them medicine, when you know you’re not, because you want their money, isn’t just lying–it’s like an example you’d make up if you had to illustrate for a child why lying is wrong.

2 thoughts on “The Ethical Implications of Rexall’s Dubious Homeopathic Offerings


    The article by Jen Gerson about the Alberta College of Naturopathic Doctors in The National Post last year has opened the flood gates for cancer quacks.

    This fellow claims to have a degree in pharmacy in Sask.
    He claims to have partnered with Rexall in one of their locations in their home Province of Alberta.

    It is obvious to me that this fellow is not alone in his quackery.

    Take one look at just this one page for a start. I have extensively reviewed his entire web site and just can’t believe my eyes. It is incredulous that he has a pharmacy degree, and that he graduated from the CCNM in Toronto.

    Here is a short list, with more to come about the conditions he treats, procedures and devices that he uses.

     – Vegatest device can diagnose cancer, treat allergies, etc.
     – Intranasal light therapy can treat a wide variety of complicated medical problems
     – MS, lupus, ALS, Alzheimers, stroke, Parkinsonism
     – HIV, herpes, Hep C, systemic candidiasis, Lyme disease
     – Earthing to treat inflammation, fatigue, hypertension
     – Ionic Foot Baths to detox the body

    The wild claims he makes on about the size of his operation and his claims that he partnered with Rexall is also questionable.

    Especially disturbing are his claims that allopathic medical models to treat cancer have a low success rate, and that his methods will work. His support Dr. Hamer, one of the leaders of German New Medicine  are particularly disturbing.

    I have contacted his College, and Rexall and am waiting for an answer. If indeed his partnership with Daryl Katz’s beloved Rexall is real, the owner of the conglomerate should consult his board of directors.

    The College will most likely ignore my complaint, Health Canada will tell me that they have no jurisdiction or interest.

    The charade of naturopathic quackery will continue unabated.

  2. “The charade of naturopathic quackery will continue unabated.”

    This is–so very sadly–true. I have complained in writing to Walgreen’s and other chains about numerous quack products (homeopathics especially) and only get either a shrug or a “health freedom” argument. What they are saying is that if it sells, they will stock it. Very sad commentary on capitalism.

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