Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Irresponsible Pharmacy

Last week I was at the chemist picking up some medicine, and while I was waiting for the store person to find the right box on the shelves, I saw something weird on the counter. It was a display stand for something called Original Hopi Earcandles. It was a tube of some sort of cloth, apparently impregnated with some sort of herbs and other things, which you stick one end in your ear, light the other end, and it does something. It spends a lot of time on the history of such things and how they are made. Then near the end it starts to make claims about what it actually does. This is all couched in weasel words. to quote "Earcandles may be beneficial in the temporary relief of the symptoms of". Note the may there. They then warn you not to use it if you have a perforated ear drum. I'm sure most people with perforated ear drum are aware enough not to stick anything in their ear.

The next bit is where they admit they're full of it. This is straight from the brochure
The Hopi EARcandle is not a medication. The indications are supported by the experience over many years of doctors and naturopathic practitioners. They do not constitute a guarantee of medical efficacy and if symptoms persist please consult your physician

Not a guarantee of medical efficacy. So in other words, they're not sure enough to really claim it does anything. They're not even sure enough to do some real testing to back up their experience.

It's also not great that later in the brochure they include a plug for a Dream Your Inner Healing cd.

To quote Penn & Teller, it's Bullshit!

The thing that really gets me is that this is being sold at a chemist. If some stupid hippy joint was selling this stuff, I wouldn't be surprised and would expect nothing less. But a chemist has a certain obligation to the community. This obligation arises due to the trust the community places in a chemist. They are the purveyors of medicine and other health products like ventilators, splints, bandages and more than I can think of. For a chemist to sell such quackery breaches the trust the community has with the chemist. It also gives undue respectability to the earcandles. And money to the unscrupulous who make such rubbish.

Chemists have an important role in society, and they should not sully this by selling garbage just so they can get a little more cash.

End Post
Writing time: 24 minutes
Time since last post: 3 days
Current media: Farscape - Different Destinations

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