Comparing advice from pharmacists and clerks in a health food store

Verbal claims are common practice in health food stores, despite the lack of either written claims and/or proof of efficacy for most of them.

In this study, the number and type of verbal claims for natural health products (NHP) made by pharmacists were compared to those made by health food stores personnel.

  • All health food stores but only 10% of pharmacies recommended NHP for the treatment of hypertension
  • Most health food store staff stated that NHP are superior or equal to medicinal drugs in treating high blood pressure

This is not true. There is no evidence to suggest that any supplement is equal to or better than presecription drugs to lower high blood pressure.

These verbal claims are often inappropriate and not evidence-based. Yet, they are common practice in health food stores. As a sales tactic, it’s an effective approach to selling supplements given that 30% to 40% of North American adults are functionally illiterate.

Talk’s cheap. When it comes to your health it can be misleading, expensive, and potentially harmful.

10/14/06 21:57 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.