Pharmacy pulls homeopathy after Advertising Standards complaint

No Jet Lag Doesn't Work


Kudos to the New Zealand-based Society for Science Base Healthcare for taking a pharmacy sale of a homeopathic remedy to the Advertising Standards Authority:

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint regarding advertising of the homeopathic product “No-Jet-Lag“” in an Auckland pharmacy. The complaint, which was lodged with the ASA by the Society for Science Based Healthcare in July, alleged that the advertisement’s claims about the product that “It Really Works” for “Homeopathic Jet Lag Prevention” were unsubstantiated and misleading.

In defense of their advertising the manufacturer of the product, Miers Laboratories submitted a study they had carried out regarding the product. However, the Advertising Standards Complaints Board said that:

the trial population in the pilot study was small, the methodology was not robust and the results had not been published or peer reviewed. The Complaints Board also noted the study was an in-house trial conducted by the Advertiser rather than independent research
Given the weaknesses in the study, the majority of the Complaints Board said the Advertiser had not satisfactorily substantiated the claim the product “really works” and, as such, the Complaints Board said the advertisement had the potential to mislead consumers. Consequently, the Complaints Board said the advertisement did not observe a high standard of social responsibility required of advertisements of this type.

As a result, the Complaints Board ruled to uphold the complaint.

No Jet Lag is sold across New Zealand and around the world. Not surprisingly, given it’s homeopathy, there’s no credible evidence it works. While the choice of pharmacy to name in the complaint was arbitrary, the pharmacy has agreed to remove the product from sale.

I’ve discussed at length in a previous post how the sale of homeopathy in pharmacies is fundamentally unethical. The Pharmacy Council of New Zealand includes the following principles in its code of ethics:

AS A PHARMACIST YOU MUST  …Act in a manner that promotes public trust and confidence in pharmacists and enhances the reputation of the profession.

[Section 6.9] Only purchase, supply or promote any medicine, complementary therapy, herbal remedy or other healthcare product where there is no reason to doubt its quality or safety and when there is credible evidence of efficacy.
[Section 6.10] Ensure you do not purchase or sell from a pharmacy any product or service which may be detrimental to the good standing of the profession or bring the profession into disrepute.

Selling homeopathy, which are are sugar pills without medicinal ingredients, is fundamentally at odds with the professional obligations of pharmacists. Homeopathy has no place on a pharmacy’s shelves. It’s unfortunate it’s taking complaints and even class action lawsuits to get action when regulators and the pharmacy profession itself refuses to even acknowledge the facts about this elaborate placebo system.

As a pharmacist, I say thank you to the Society for Science Based Healthcare. Keep the heat on the pharmacy profession.

8 thoughts on “Pharmacy pulls homeopathy after Advertising Standards complaint

  1. In Australia pharmacies have been arguing against supermarkets selling a greater range of medications. They often suggest that pharmacists give professional health care advice not available in a supermarket.
    The reality is that pharmacists sometimes give credible advice and sometimes they sell you fake medicine.
    The profession is clearly not trustworthy as they involved in fraud on a massive scale….. Go Supermarkets !
    Dont even get me started on these charlatans hiring naturopaths to do iridology and naturopathic consultations.

  2. Pharmacies in the U.S. usually sell a lot of junk–candy, beauty products, food–but while there seems to be a clear line between the area where the pharmacist fills prescriptions and the other part of the store, the outside section does include both effective things like aspirin, and junk like homeopathy. When asked, some pharmacists don’t see a problem with it; some people think it works, they say. I’m curious about whether it would be possible to sustain a pharmacy business by just dispensing prescription drugs and over-the-counter stuff that truly works, like aspirin. Is it really necessary to sell toys and jewelry, candy and gum to make a living as a pharmacist?

  3. It’s well known amongst pretty much all GPs that most cough medicines don’t work either but they’re still happily given huge shelf space in pharmacies. Maybe they should get the boot too. Or maybe the pharmaceutical companies have too much sway.

    • It’s the “free market” that has sway, not individual industries. You see this in supermarkets as well, rows and rows of things marketed to children that really aren’t food, although they may be vaguely edible. The right to profit from anything at all trumps the welfare of children and any effort to regulate anything meets with screams of “nanny state” from the corporate world and its supporters.

  4. I always wonder why are there no homepathic sleeping tablets and is there no homeopathic laxative?
    This would be the best method to demonstrate “cause and effect”

    • There ARE homeopathic sleeping tablets–they (don’t) contain stuff like caffeine–the dilution is so high, there’s no caffeine left. The 10:23 organization (named for avogadro’s number holds suicide sessions where members show up at pharmacies that sell homeopathic products and down entire bottles of homeopathic sleeping pills. ( James Randi has also downed a bottle of homeopathic sleeping pills to demonstrate their idiocy. ONRAC (Oh No Ross and Carrie) had a podcast where they took homeopathic sleeping pills, downing them with alcohol to demonstrate their lack of efficacy.
      Of course, according to the logic of homeopaths, taking MORE of a substance has a lower effect, so perhaps taking an overdose is the best way to protect yourself from one.
      None of this has any effect on true believers–they are immune to reason, evidence and logic. England still has Homeopathic Hospitals. Santa Monica has a Homeopathic Pharmacy.

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