A right way, and a wrong way, to promote the role of the pharmacist


The right way:

Loblaw Pharmacy Launches Food Allergy Management Assessment Program

As part of our ongoing efforts to create allergy-safe communities, Anaphylaxis Canada is pleased to announce a new partnership with Loblaw Pharmacies on their new Food Allergy Management Assessment program. The program, to be offered in the pharmacies located in Loblaw retail stores, will help educate consumers about food allergies and emergency preparedness. The pharmacists will provide interested customers with:

• allergen wallet cards to help identify food allergens while grocery shopping
• an anaphylaxis emergency plan which provides information to teachers, caregivers and others
• an auto-injector instruction sheet and a personal review of how to correctly use it
• an opportunity to sign up for the REFILLready™ auto-injector expiry date reminder program

Anaphylaxis Canada is a non-profit advocacy organization that promotes education and research about food allergies. It is a strongly evidence-based group that works with medical allergy groups in Canada, and around the world, including the Canadian Society of Allergy & Clinical Immunology (CSACI).

The wrong way:

HEMOCODE Food Intolerance system

Speak with your Rexall Pharmacist today to learn about a painless blood test that can identify over 250 common foods that may be causing you unpleasant symptoms such as chronic fatigue, migraines, back pain, fibromyalgia, psoriasis, acne, diarrhea and constipation. The HEMOCODE™ Lite Food Intolerance System reviews 60 common foods and offers many of the same benefits as the 250 food panel with the exception of the personalized recipe book and vitamin and supplements recommendations, but at an entry level price.  Remember, both HEMOCODE™ and HEMOCODE™ Lite may be covered in part or completely by most extended health care plans where Naturopathy is scheduled.

Hemocode is a clinically unvalidated IgG blood test that purports to diagnose “food intolerance”. The results are used to give dietary advice (which could lead to potentially harmful food restrictions), and to promote the sale of supplements.  All major allergy and immunology organizations around the world advise against the use of IgG testing for diagnosing food intolerance. Pharmacist’s Letter says the following:

Patients are hearing misleading claims about the Hemocode test for food intolerance. This test is NOT proven to help…and it could cause problems.


Hemocode isn’t the first lab test for food intolerance. But it’s becoming more popular now that the test kits are being sold in some pharmacies…and advertising is directed at consumers. But a positive IgG reaction to certain foods does NOT necessarily mean intolerance. In fact, positive test results to IgG antibodies are EXPECTED…because they’re markers of exposure to those foods.

The Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (CSACI) says the following about the test:

There is no body of research that supports the use of this test to diagnose adverse reactions to food or to predict future adverse reactions.

Two Canadian pharmacy chains, with two seemingly very different perspectives on the pharmacist’s role as a provider of credible, evidence-based care.

One thought on “A right way, and a wrong way, to promote the role of the pharmacist

  1. Pharmacy retail bosses, regardless of the wonderful clinical services introduced recently, will be looking only at $ value which is very degrading and dangerous both for the profession and the public. Medscheck is substandard due to quotas imposed in Ontario by chain stores. I hope the government will do a thorough audit of all the claims in order to limit the public money abuse.

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