The official body for Australian GPs has asked pharmacists to strip their shelves of homeopathic products and warned doctors not to prescribe them because they do nothing.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has formally recommended GPs stop prescribing homeopathic remedies and says pharmacists must also stop stocking such products because there is no evidence they are effective in any way.
The RACGP’s position statement on homeopathy, released on Wednesday, follows recent findings by the National Health and Medical Research Council that homeopathy produces no health benefits over and above a placebo.
The RACGP president, Dr Frank Jones, warned people who turned to homeopathic products to address health issues could be putting themselves at risk.
Such unproven products might cause them to delay seeking out proper medical care, or lead them to reject conventional medical approaches entirely, he said.
He expressed particular concerns about so-called homeopathic vaccines.
“These alternatives do not prevent diseases or increase protective antibodies and there is no plausible biological mechanism by which these alternatives could prevent infection,” he said.
“Individuals and the community are exposed to preventable diseases when homeopathic vaccines are used as an alternative to conventional immunisation.”
Dr Jones said the lack of evidence about any benefits from homeopathy must prompt doctors and pharmacists to turn their backs on it.
“Given this lack of evidence, it does not make sense for homeopathy products to be prescribed by GPs or sold, recommended or supported by pharmacists,” he said.
RACGP noted all taxpayers were funding homeopathy through the federal government’s private health insurance rebate.
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia says it’s up to individual pharmacists to decide if they’ll stop selling homeopathic remedies branded useless by doctors.
The pharmacy guild says it is not a regulatory authority, and as such there will be no recommendation backing RACGP’s call for homeopathic products to be taken off the market.