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Why do pharmacists sell homoeopathic remedies?

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 19 January 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d349

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Sugaring the pill: honesty and the primary prevention pill-pusher

A north-London GP, Fred Kavalier thinks he's "more honest than most
homeopaths". Of course, Dr Kavalier may be more honest than many other
pill-pushing GPs.

Take, for example, the great cholesterol fandango and those primary
care doctors who enthusiastically dance to the financially exciting
rhythms of the QOF. Once started there is really no indication to stop
them: the statins have proved to be the biggest money-spinning pills the
world of medicine has ever known.

But against all the prevailing evidence, many GPs continue to
prescribe statins like sherbet lemons, to anyone and everyone with a
cholesterol level - and despite the evidence that the modest benefit in
secondary prevention is independent of the cholesterol-lowering effect.

I am beginning to suspect that the pharmacy sale of a little box of
"sucrose/lactose pillules" involves a whole lot less evidence-based
deception than the flogging of the primary-preventing sherbet lemon.

[1] Statins: use them or lose them. Debate about the benefits and
harms of statins on Channel 4 News between Lawrence Buckman, GPC Chairman,
and John Briffa. January 2011.

Competing interests: No competing interests

14 February 2011
Mark Struthers