Would you like a Coke and fries with your prescription?

Is pharmacy a business or a profession? It’s a question that comes up when when pharmacists put financial interests ahead of patient interests. And that’s the question that’s being asked of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, the national advocacy organization for Australian retail pharmacies. The Guild recently announced a partnership with Blackmores, a large Australian supplement manufacturer. The partnership means that the Guild’s pharmacy computer system will prompt pharmacists to recommend Blackmores-branded supplements alongside specific prescription drugs. The announcement has exploded in the Guilds’ face (see the advertisement above, for example), and brought widespread criticism to pharmacists, and pharmacy practice. Is this co-marketing science-based or profit-based? And is it ethical? Let’s look at the details. Continue reading