Most pharmacies worldwide sell any bogus treatment to their unsuspecting customers, it seems – as long as it makes a profit, anything goes! Not in New Zealand!

The New Zealand’s Pharmacy Council’s Safe Effective Pharmacy Practice Code of Ethics 2011 section 6.9 requires of pharmacists that:

“YOU MUST… 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.”

This instruction was the basis for a complaint against a New Zealand pharmacy selling a homeopathic remedy against jet lag called “No-Jet-Lag”. The New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) considered the complaint and decided to uphold it. The complaint, which was lodged with the ASA by the Society for Science Based Healthcare in July 2014, alleged that the advertisement’s claims about the product that “It Really Works” for “Homeopathic Jet Lag Prevention” were unsubstantiated and misleading.

In defence of their advertising, the manufacturer of the product, Miers Laboratories, submitted a study they had conducted with their product. However, the Advertising Standards Complaints Board ruled 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.”

However, today I found the following text still on the website of the company: Jet lag is the curse of modern jet travel, but it doesn´t have to spoil your trip. The unique homeopathic remedy No-Jet-Lag helps ensure holiday enjoyment and working efficiency even after long airline flights. No-Jet-Lag is raved about by satisfied travellers globally, including business executives, sports teams, tour operators, and flight crews. It is safe, easy to take, and proven effective in tests.

Are the days of “No-Jet-Lag” counted?

Why do not all countries’ pharmacists have such codes of ethics?

3 Responses to Homeopathic medicines: another one hits the dust

  • I think ti is events like this, and the spate of class actions in Australia, that will finally cause the public to realise that they are being conned. I suspect that most buyers of homeopathic products have no idea that what they are buying is just sugar, a lot seem to think it’s a form of herbal medicine and I have seen homeopaths interviewed in the media who collude in this falsehood.

  • I just flew back to the UK from Auckland airport. I stopped in an airport pharmacy to buy zome aspirin. The girl behind the counter cheerily said “Would you like to buy some of these sir? They’re on promotion and they really work.” And indicated a display of homeopathic “No-Jet-Lag” pills.

    This was the first time in my 70 years on this planet that a pharmacist has ever attempted to promote to me somthing purporting to be medicinal. But, moreover, having previously read this post, I was incredulous to find not a blind bit of notice had been taken of the court judgement. The lady behind the counter received from me a very blunt summary of the non-value and non-content of homeopathic products, with a mention of her country’s ASA judgement, but almost certainly wrote me off as some sort of crank. Oh, the irony!

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