Last night’s Four Corners exposé of Big Vitamins marketing their supplementary pills via community pharmacists would have had doctors throughout the nation nodding their heads.
We only have to walk past a pharmacy shopfront to see how rife the problem is. Clearly most pharmacist-owners see it as a profitable—some would argue, a critical—part of their business plan.
As for pharmacist-employees, most are presumably resigned to selling these supplements by the kilo, and some would perhaps believe the industry’s own hype that ‘pick me up’ vitamins really do pick people up. Even well people, with clean livers.
The issue is not so much the selling of products in a free market, but the dubious veneer of scientific credibility, beginning with exaggerated or false advertising claims and ending with a highly trained, trusted professional. As a pharmacist said on the show, “If they’re after complementary medicines, then I’m happy to provide them”.
After such media reports featuring sceptical doctors, inevitably some commenters retort by questioning why they pick on pharmacists, when the medical profession itself is so influenced by Big Pharma. Something about sinners casting the first stone.
And, you know what? They have a point. So, let’s lob a few stones in every direction, even if a wall of my own glass house cracks. Continue reading