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Six in 10 pharmacy professionals in favour of banning homeopathy prescribing

Six in 10 pharmacy professionals are against the sale and dispensing of homeopathic products, pharmacists at an international conference have heard.

In a congress session taking place at the International Pharmaceutical Federation’s (FIP) World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science on Tuesday (4 September), 63% of between 150 to 200 people surveyed said ‘pharmacists should not sell or dispense homeopathic products’ in pharmacies.

Those who took part in the vote included pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, pharmacy educators and pharmacy students, according to the FIP.

The findings come while the FIP is holding its 78th congress, from 2 to 6 September in Glasgow, Scotland.

Majority against homeopathy

An FIP spokesperson told The Pharmacist today (6 September): ‘Congress delegates in a non-binding vote during a session supported a debate motion that pharmacists should not sell or dispense homeopathic products.

‘The vote was 63% in favour of the motion. It was made clear during the debate, however, that this isn’t the official policy of FIP. This issue is sure to remain topical among the profession for some time to come.’

The FIP stressed that the vote merely reflected the current ‘feeling’ on homeopathy among the congress participants and did not reflect the views of the FIP. It has not currently ‘made any policy statement on the issue’.

‘FIP is aware of the debate and the result and will take this into account in any future policy work on this topic’ the spokesperson added.

‘No robust evidence’

Earlier this year, NHS England decided to no longer routinely fund homeopathy, issuing guidance to stop prescribing 18 low clinical priority treatments including homeopathy and herbal treatments.

It came as NHS England’s chief executive Simon Stevens argued that there is no ‘robust evidence’ to support homeopathy, which is a ‘at best a placebo and a misuse of scarce NHS funds’, he said.

Researchers from the University of Oxford recently estimated that more than 2,700 homeopathy prescriptions were issued by GP practices between December 2016 and May 2017 at a total cost of £36,532.