Sunday, May 25, 2008

Boots accused of selling quack medicines

From the Guardian (UK):
Boots, the high street chemist, is becoming the country's largest seller of quack medicine, according to Britain's leading scientific expert on alternative therapies.

Talking at the Hay literary festival today, Edzard Ernst, professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University, is to criticise the company for selling alternative medicines, in particular more than 50 homeopathic remedies, which are shown by clinical trials to be no more effective than sugar pills.

Boots, which has 1,500 stores across the UK, stocks 55 homeopathic therapies, 34 of which are sold under the company's own brand.

Ernst accuses the company of breaching ethical guidelines drawn up by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, by failing to tell customers that its homeopathic medicines contain no active ingredients and are ineffective in clinical trials.

"The population at large trusts Boots more than any other pharmacy, but when you look behind the smokescreen, when it comes to alternative medicines, that trust is not justified. You can buy a lot of rubbish, with covert advertising stating things that are overtly wrong. People are spending their money on stuff that doesn't work," he said. "Boots seems to be fast becoming the biggest seller of quack remedies in UK high streets." ...more

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