CAM EducationHomeopathy

Should homeopathy be included in pharmacy school curricula?

As drug experts, pharmacists are expected to counsel patients on the safe and effective use medicine, which technically includes homeopathic products.

Considering that many pharmacists feel that homeopathy is based on unscientific theories that lack supporting evidence, is this a reasonable expectation?

Dr. Heather Boon (photo) is assistant professor at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include patients’ use of CAM, the safety and efficacy of natural health products, and CAM regulation and policy issues. She and Teela Johnson, an MSc student, have written an excellent review on homeopathy in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education. The complete text available here.

Their work is an introduction to the theory and research in homeopathy. They conclude?

  • “Overall, enough clinical evidence exists to warrant further research ? to identify which specific homeopathic medicines are effective for which constellation of symptoms. In addition, comparisons with conventional treatments are needed to identify if there are any indications for which homeopathy may have superior efficacy.

They believe,

  • “Since consumers continue to use homeopathic products, it is necessary for pharmacists to have a basic knowledge of homeopathy and to be able to counsel patients about its general use, the current state of the evidence and its use in conjunction with other medications.”

The bottom line?
A survey of pharmacy faculty attitudes and perceptions regarding the use of CAM found that therapies most frequently perceived as ineffective were bioelectromagnetic therapies (26%) and homeopathy (26%).

My guess is that most colleges of pharmacy do not have anyone on faculty with the interest and expertise in CAM of Dr. Boon to serve as a source of informed opinion. Therefore, it will be a long time before pharmacy curricula provide sufficient information to allow pharmacists to make informed recommendations about homeopathy to consumers.

4/13/07 21:17 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, a complementary and alternative medicine website.