Tag Archives | Scott Gavura

Towards more effective supplement regulation in Canada

Continue Reading 0

Posted 26 September 2016

Currently, natural health products are regulated in a manner similar to drugs – manufacturers must apply to Health Canada for a licence to sell and products are assigned a unique number that must appear on product labels to signal the department’s approval. But unlike drugs makers, natural health product manufacturers are not required to provide robust evidence that a product works before it’s allowed on the market.

Under the proposed new system Health Canada would bring natural health products, over-the-counter drugs and cosmetics under one set of rules and regulate them based on the potential health risks they pose.

The new regime would classify many vitamin, mineral and homeopathic products and cosmetics as “low risk,” meaning they would not be licensed by Health Canada. Manufacturers would still have to meet Health Canada’s quality standards, but they would be prohibited from making disease treatment or prevention claims Read the rest

Continue Reading 0

Pharmacists selling CAM doesn’t wash

Continue Reading 0

Posted 21 March 2016

We recently posted a peer-reviewed paper, Alternative Medicine and the Ethics Of Commerce, written by Scott Gavura and Professor Chris MacDonald and published in the journal Bioethics.

Jane McCredie highlights this article in the Medical Journal Australia of 21 March, 2016, with a title “Pharmacists selling CAM doesn’t wash”. She points out the principle of ‘informed consent’, that the buyer needs to fully understand what they are being sold, that is, the seller needs to give all the information for a fully informed decision to be made. She writes: “The informed consent principle implies ‘a general demand for honesty on the part of sellers, and a refusal to profit from the ignorance of consumers’, Gavura and MacDonald write.”
She writes: “So how does the CAM industry fare when measured against these principles of commercial ethics? It’s pretty much a total fail on the first
Read the rest
Continue Reading 0

Alternative Medicine and the Ethics Of Commerce

Continue Reading 0

Posted 16 March 2016

Scott Gavura, a pharmacist, publishes to his own website, Science-based Pharmacy. His articles, always thought provoking, are cross-posted to Science-based Medicine.

In this article, titled “The questionable ethics of selling complementary and alternative medicine”, he points out that like other critics, “I looked at CAM from a scientific evidence perspective, the one I was taught in pharmacy school, using the same approach I’d take when assessing a new drug. Did the evidence support the claims made about these products, or not? The answers, as you might expect, were often the same. There was little or no credible evidence to demonstrate CAM had any meaningful benefits”.

He and Professor Chris MacDonald of Ryerson University have now focused on the ethics of selling CAMS, now published in the journal Bioethics, a peer-reviewed paper on the same topic: “Alternative Medicine and the Ethics of Commerce.”Read the rest

Continue Reading 0

The one thing you need to know before you detox

Continue Reading 0

Posted 05 January 2016

Homemark, Herbex and others regularly promote detox products, whether a juice bar, detox foot pads or detox tea, and particularly at the beginning of each year. What does Science-based Medicine have to say about “detox”, considering that the physiology of detoxification has been well studied?

A few selected extracts from this excellent article written by Scott Gavura:

“With 2016 upon us, it’s finally time get serious about your health. You’re resolving to eat better and exercise more. But first, you need to reset your body – and purge yourself of all of your lifestyle and dietary overindulgences. But how? The options seem limitless, and everyone has advice: There’s Dr. Oz, Gwyneth, and even your favourite Kardashian has advice: They’re all telling you how it’s essential to “detox”, “cleanse” and “flush” away all of your toxins”.

““Detox” is a legitimate medical term that has been co-opted to Read the rest

Continue Reading 0

Review of 17 “alternative” therapies finds no evidence of effectiveness

Continue Reading 0

Posted 22 November 2015

The Australian government recently undertook a review of natural products covered by private health insurance. It did this for two main reasons: The first was to ensure that private insurance plans were paying for “clinically proven” treatment. The second was based on concerns about tax dollars being used to subsidize ineffective treatments. The government provides a rebate on private insurance, and questions were raised about the extent to which the government was effectively subsidizing “natural” therapies that were not supported by good evidence yet were still being paid for through insurance. So in 2012 the government announced a review of natural treatments to determine if these therapies were effective, safe, and provided good value for money.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the report has concluded:

The Private Health Insurance Rebate will be paid for insurance products that cover natural therapy services only where the Chief Medical Officer

Read the rest
Continue Reading 0

Should regulators treat the supplement industry like the tobacco industry?

Continue Reading 0

Posted 21 December 2015

Scott Gavura, a pharmacist, has posted an excellent article on his blog ‘Science-Based Pharmacy’, in prompted by an article titled “Should states and local governments regulate dietary supplements?” published in the journal, Drug Testing and Analysis. (abstract reproduced below)

He writes:

“The idea that “natural” products are safe and effective has been so effectively marketed to us that many don’t recognize it as a fallacy. Much of the supplement industry is built around an appeal to nature. Supplements are described as natural, gentle, and “holistic”. Medicine, especially prescription drugs, is the opposite. They’re “chemicals”. They’re risky and dangerous – just look at that list of side effects!”.

He states: “Supplement regulation: A travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham” and points out this cautionary tale:

“Claims made about the efficacy Read the rest

Continue Reading 0

Science-based pharmacy: supplements, deck stacked against consumers

Continue Reading 0

Posted 27 September 2015

Scott Gavura is the pharmacist behind Science-Based Pharmacy. In a post of  24 September 2015, titled Pine bark and ginkgo for tinnitus? A closer look at “Ear Tone”, a supplement marketed to treat tinnitushe makes a number of points about why he blogs which I share and identify with. He writes (extracts):

“Why do you bother blogging?” asked a colleague. “You take hours of your personal time to write, and you do it for free.

I blog for the same reason that I became a pharmacist: to help people use medicines more effectively.

Yes I do get regular hate mail, and the occasional legal threat, but there’s also gratitude for a post that resonated with someone, or helped them make better decisions about their health.

When buying supplements, the deck is stacked against consumers
One of my recurring (and favourite) blog topics Read the rest

Continue Reading 0

Why pharmacists should not sell homeopathic medicines

Continue Reading 1

Posted 27 July 2015

Mr Scott Gavura, a Canadian pharmacist, has written an article criticising Canadian pharmacists for stocking homeopathic medicines alongside conventional medicines.

We have a similar situation here in South Africa.

Mr Gavura ends his article with this powerful admonition: “Pharmacists ought to know better, and they ought to do better. It’s time for the profession to act in the interests of patients. Homeopathy has no place in today’s pharmacy practice.”

The same applies to South African pharmacists.

You can read the full article at: https://sciencebasedpharmacy.wordpress.com/2015/07/26/pharmacies-professionalism-and-homeopathy/

Mr Gavura also has a facebook page worth looking at: https://www.facebook.com/ScienceBasedPharmacy

It should be noted that in South Africa, according to the standards of “Good Pharmacy Practice” (GPP) published by the South African Pharmacy Council, pharmacists  “. . . must not purchase, sell or supply any medicinal product where the pharmacist has any reason to doubt its safety, quality or … Read the rest

Continue Reading 1

Safety and quality of herbal supplements

Continue Reading 0

Posted 13 February 2015

This interesting article written by the pharmacist, Scott Gavura, in 2013 (but still relevant) and posted to Science-Based Medicine, argues that it is unfair to require decent proof that certain medicines are safe, and have efficacy, compared to others, e.g., complementary medicines.

Some extracts that are pertinent.

“And when it comes to ensuring the products we buy are of high quality, we’re all effectively reliant on regulation to protect us. As a pharmacist, I can’t personally verify that each tablet in your prescription contains the active ingredient on the label. I am dependent on a supply chain that may stretch around the world. While the product manufacturer may be reputable, it’s only a regulator that can realistically verify and enforce production to strict quality standards. The same cannot be said for products like supplements and herbs which are regulated differently than drugs, and held to Read the rest

Continue Reading 0