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Old 17th January 2018, 03:05 PM   #1
The Atheist
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Pharmacists: Hang Your Heads in Shame!

It has long seemed to me that pharmacists must carry much of the blame for the proliferation of non-scientific, pseudo-medical products and services.

Every pharamacy I even deal with sells enormous amounts of products that clash violently with the idea of the science-based medicine they're actually there to dispense.

This week, I've been dealing with a woman who was employed by a pharmacy as the homeopathic remedy salesperson. One of her causes for concern is that other people are selling homeopathic remedies without checking with her first, and that could be dangerous for people!

The struggle to tell her that you could safely prescribe the entire stock to someone and guarantee no side-effects apart from the volume just about had me rupturing myself.

Yet, in the cold light of science and reason, the owners of the pharmacy are simply selling out for the money, despite the fact that their own training tells them this stuff is bollocks.

To my mind, if we want to make progress in combating the myth of alternative medicine, the first step needs to be from pharmacists, who taint the entire scientific medical community in pursuit of a few extra dollars.
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Old 17th January 2018, 03:11 PM   #2
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Where there is demand there will always be supply. Are doctors prescribing homeopathic "medication"? Or do the pharmacies keep it in supply because idiotic customers request/purchase it. Either way, a homeopathic remedy salesperson must be the easiest occupation in the world.
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Old 17th January 2018, 03:34 PM   #3
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Pharmacies aren't there to dispense science-based medicine.

They're there to dispense whatever medicine people want. They dispense a lot of science-based medicine because it turns out a lot of people want that. But not everyone. Some people want something else. And pharmacies are there for them, too.

Yes, pharmacies are complicit in some of the woo that pervades their societies. But they're pretty far down my list of people to hold responsible for woo.
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Old 17th January 2018, 03:39 PM   #4
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Every time I go to pick up a prescription, I scour the shelves just to find a woo product to complain about but I never find any. I need to live where you lot live.
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Old 17th January 2018, 03:51 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
This week, I've been dealing with a woman who was employed by a pharmacy as the homeopathic remedy salesperson.
But she is not a pharmacist. Your thread title attacks pharmacists.

In America, none of the prescription medications sold by pharmacists are homeopathic.

The pharmacist may not own the pharmacy. The owner may want homeopathics sold there even if the pharmacist would not want that.
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Old 17th January 2018, 03:54 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by p0lka View Post
Every time I go to pick up a prescription, I scour the shelves just to find a woo product to complain about but I never find any. I need to live where you lot live.
Australia, apparently. Or is it New Zealand? Either way, it seems those Kiwis are a pile of superstitious gits.
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Old 17th January 2018, 03:55 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
But she is not a pharmacist. Your thread title attacks pharmacists.

In America, none of the prescription medications sold by pharmacists are homeopathic.

The pharmacist may not own the pharmacy. The owner may want homeopathics sold there even if the pharmacist would not want that.
Yep. They usually just work there. My nearest pharmacy also sells Lego, princess costumes, and vinyl records.

However, there's a few pharmacist-owned pharmacies around, and I think it might be appropriate to direct criticism at them. One of the nationally known Canadian skeptics is a pharmacist, he is frequently criticizing his peers over exactly this. Scott Gavura. He and a couple of colleagues run a blog: [science-based pharmacy]
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Old 17th January 2018, 03:56 PM   #8
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It's a win-win proposition for the owner.

"This side of the store is where we make money off all the people who want scientific medicine... And this side of the store is where we make money off all the people who want homeopathic tea."
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Old 17th January 2018, 04:56 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
This week, I've been dealing with a woman who was employed by a pharmacy as the homeopathic remedy salesperson. One of her causes for concern is that other people are selling homeopathic remedies without checking with her first, and that could be dangerous for people!

The struggle to tell her that you could safely prescribe the entire stock to someone and guarantee no side-effects apart from the volume just about had me rupturing myself.
I would preach caution here.

It has recently come to my attention that some products which are sold as "homeophathic" actually do contain ingredients, and in some cases, quite dangerous ingredients.

Unless you live somewhere where the term "homeopathic" is strictly controlled I don't think you can rely on the products having no ingredients.
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Old 17th January 2018, 04:56 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
It's a win-win proposition for the owner.

"This side of the store is where we make money off all the people who want scientific medicine... And this side of the store is where we make money off all the people who want homeopathic tea."
I recall a show called Grace Under Fire where Dave Thomas' character ([Doug McKenzie] Dave Thomas - not the Wendy's Dave Thomas) is a pharmacist that refers to his altmed aisle as "the profit center."
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Old 17th January 2018, 05:02 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by p0lka View Post
Every time I go to pick up a prescription, I scour the shelves just to find a woo product to complain about but I never find any. I need to live where you lot live.
Are you in the US or UK? If it's the US look for Coldeeze, Zicam, or Emergen-C.
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Old 17th January 2018, 05:40 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Are you in the US or UK? If it's the US look for Coldeeze, Zicam, or Emergen-C.
I'd even throw 'daily multivitamins' in as examples.
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Old 17th January 2018, 06:37 PM   #13
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It's not the actual pharmacists, of course, but their employers. Who care at a homeopathic level whether a product is actually useful as long as they make a buck.

Note this quote from the OP:
Quote:
This week, I've been dealing with a woman who was employed by a pharmacy as the homeopathic remedy salesperson. One of her causes for concern is that other people are selling homeopathic remedies without checking with her first, and that could be dangerous for people!
Salesperson =/= Pharmacist.
Oh, and in the USA, labeling laws are so weak that you can call any damn thing "homeopathic" and get away with it. Zicam has a 1X concentration of one zinc compound and 1C of another. That's 10% and 1%, respectively.
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Old 17th January 2018, 06:44 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by novaphile View Post
I would preach caution here.

It has recently come to my attention that some products which are sold as "homeophathic" actually do contain ingredients, and in some cases, quite dangerous ingredients.

Unless you live somewhere where the term "homeopathic" is strictly controlled I don't think you can rely on the products having no ingredients.
I think the ratio is typically something like 3 parts of "active ingredient" per billion, whether it's citric acid or arsenic. It's virtually just water. That's what's so stupid about it.
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Old 17th January 2018, 06:46 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
Oh, and in the USA, labeling laws are so weak that you can call any damn thing "homeopathic" and get away with it.
That explains why I was able to buy some homeopathic carrots. They looked good but were pretty much flavorless.
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Old 17th January 2018, 07:19 PM   #16
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They are, after all, carrots.
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Old 17th January 2018, 07:43 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
It has long seemed to me that pharmacists must carry much of the blame for the proliferation of non-scientific, pseudo-medical products and services.

Once several years ago, I took a homeopathic product off the shelf in a Walgreens and asked the pharmacist about it. He flat out told me it was worthless. So, be kind of careful with the word "pharmacy." In the US, the pharmacy with its professional pharmacist is a separate entity inside the "pharmacy" or, I guess, sundries shop.

Besides, whatever homeopathic crap they're selling barely rates next to their sale of cigarettes. Focus on that.
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Old 17th January 2018, 07:55 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Once several years ago, I took a homeopathic product off the shelf in a Walgreens and asked the pharmacist about it. He flat out told me it was worthless. So, be kind of careful with the word "pharmacy." In the US, the pharmacy with its professional pharmacist is a separate entity inside the "pharmacy" or, I guess, sundries shop.

Besides, whatever homeopathic crap they're selling barely rates next to their sale of cigarettes. Focus on that.
I'm happy to say my usual pharmacy stopped selling tobacco product a couple few years ago!! Still have a few bogus remedies, though.
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Old 17th January 2018, 10:40 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by novaphile View Post
I would preach caution here.

It has recently come to my attention that some products which are sold as "homeophathic" actually do contain ingredients, and in some cases, quite dangerous ingredients.

Unless you live somewhere where the term "homeopathic" is strictly controlled I don't think you can rely on the products having no ingredients.
This is correct. "homeopathic" in marketing is often used as an umbrella term that includes herbals, naturopathics, and homeopathics proper.
The item may contain active ingredients in efficacious proportions.

And I've seen some very questionable ingredients that really ought not to be available without at least a doctor's permission.

The last place I worked at as a pharmacy tech was a supermarket (Kroger).
There were lots of over the counter items as supplements and so-called "natural remedies." The pharmacist had no say in what was on the store shelves, not even the regional store pharmacy coordinator. If there's a demand for such a stupid product as Airborn," the store carries it.
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Old 18th January 2018, 12:02 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Once several years ago, I took a homeopathic product off the shelf in a Walgreens and asked the pharmacist about it. He flat out told me it was worthless. So, be kind of careful with the word "pharmacy." In the US, the pharmacy with its professional pharmacist is a separate entity inside the "pharmacy" or, I guess, sundries shop.

Besides, whatever homeopathic crap they're selling barely rates next to their sale of cigarettes. Focus on that.
I was looking for zinc lozenges last fall when I had a URI (some evidence, not conclusive and not harmful before anyone gives me grief about zinc for a cold). I didn't see the homeopathy label on Zicam and took it up to the pharmacist to ask what 1X translated to in milligrams. He said there is no way to know what is in the stuff because it was homeopathy.

I blame Walgreen's and Bartell's for selling the stuff but the pharmacists don't seem to be doing much to educate their employers.
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Old 18th January 2018, 01:47 AM   #21
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Some positive news from Australia. Health Insurance Funds included "natural" remedies amongst services they funded. A lot of them have been dropped from their schedules. They still fund marginal treatments like chiropracty, but some progress at least.

More relevant to the OP, Blackmores is a huge "supplement" provider, with homeopathic treatments galore. They take up massive shelf space in our pharmacies.
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Old 18th January 2018, 01:54 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by bytewizard View Post
Where there is demand there will always be supply. Are doctors prescribing homeopathic "medication"? Or do the pharmacies keep it in supply because idiotic customers request/purchase it.
I'm 100% confident it's demand driven - they are catering to morons who buy it.

I don't believe that's a reasonable stance for a health professional to take.

Originally Posted by bytewizard View Post
Either way, a homeopathic remedy salesperson must be the easiest occupation in the world.
In a tie with colour healing.

Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
But she is not a pharmacist. Your thread title attacks pharmacists.
The person who employed her is.

Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
In America, none of the prescription medications sold by pharmacists are homeopathic.
That's good, but do any of their shops sell them?

Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
The pharmacist may not own the pharmacy. The owner may want homeopathics sold there even if the pharmacist would not want that.
In NZ, they do, with few exceptions and this isn't one of them.

Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Besides, whatever homeopathic crap they're selling barely rates next to their sale of cigarettes. Focus on that.
They haven't ever sold them in NZ. Also, cigarettes aren't in any way unscientific - they work fine, as life expectancy of smokers shows quite neatly.
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Old 18th January 2018, 04:03 AM   #23
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By Law, all pharmacies in New Zealand must be owned by pharmacists

http://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/r...ip-and-control

Quote:
Company ownership

This is the most common form of pharmacy ownership. The majority of the share capital must be owned by an individual pharmacist or pharmacists. This pharmacist or these pharmacists must have effective control of the company at all times. For example, this may be reflected by the classes of shares held (if applicable), the ability to appoint directors to the board and the ability to control the board of directors to the board..

As companies and trusts cannot be defined as a pharmacist (even if they are wholly owned by pharmacists) they are not able to hold the majority of the shares of a company. Company structures where a part of the majority pharmacist shareholding is held by a company or trust, are not compliant and will not be granted a licence.

The Licensing Authority may require further information from the applicant to ensure that effective control is vested with the pharmacist(s). Company documents including company constitutions, shareholders agreements and details of the distribution of classes of shares (usually voting or non-voting rights) among the shareholders may be requested.
I personally have never seen a pharmacy in NZ selling any kind of tobacco products. They generally sell only "over the counter" medicines, prescription medicines (with a scrip of course) as well as cosmetics, shampoos, soaps, body lotions, sun-screens, personal hygiene products and cosmetics. Some also sell sunglasses and sun-hats.
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Old 18th January 2018, 06:07 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Besides, whatever homeopathic crap they're selling barely rates next to their sale of cigarettes. Focus on that.
I always wonder why people are so quick to attack the selling of cigarettes but not that they sell alcohol.

Anyway, at least in my part of the USA, the mass majority of pharmacies are not pharmacist owned. Only a small handful of mom and pop shops are still pharmacist owned. From the sounds of it, it you ask the pharmacist about something from the "profit isle", they tell you it's rubbish. I still feel that the fault lies in laziness of people to not educate themselves on these things and just take a commercial as gospel.
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Old 18th January 2018, 08:52 AM   #25
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The pharmacy stores in my area also sell board games for kids that kids will not enjoy, makeup products that will not make anyone using them more beautiful, greeting cards that belittle rather than celebrate the recipient and/or the intended occasion of the greeting, magazines full of recipes that few buyers will actually attempt and for those few will not come out looking like the picture on the cover, lottery tickets that deepen buyers' impoverishment, and snacks and soft drinks that will enhance rather than ameliorate ones craving for snacks and soft drinks.

Most of the many shortcomings of our health systems arise ultimately from being components of a consumerist society that expects happiness and health to be things that are for sale.
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Old 18th January 2018, 08:53 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
This week, I've been dealing with a woman who was employed by a pharmacy as the homeopathic remedy salesperson. One of her causes for concern is that other people are selling homeopathic remedies without checking with her first, and that could be dangerous for people!

The struggle to tell her that you could safely prescribe the entire stock to someone and guarantee no side-effects apart from the volume just about had me rupturing myself.
I probably couldn't have helped but speak out.
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Old 18th January 2018, 08:54 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Pharmacies aren't there to dispense science-based medicine.

They're there to dispense whatever medicine people want.
Yes but most people expect pharmacies to sell stuff that works. A pharmacy selling homeopathic products gives an impression of legitimacy.
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Old 18th January 2018, 09:43 AM   #28
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Maybe the pharmacist is selling the homeopathics as a way of generating extra income to put his kids through college. But homeopathy is a scam and he should make extra money in other ways. He could just double the prices of his prescription medications. That would work.
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Old 18th January 2018, 09:49 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Maybe the pharmacist is selling the homeopathics as a way of generating extra income to put his kids through college. But homeopathy is a scam and he should make extra money in other ways. He could just double the prices of his prescription medications. That would work.
I don't know about your neck of the woods but up here pharmacists don't need extra income.
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Old 18th January 2018, 09:52 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by novaphile View Post
I would preach caution here.

It has recently come to my attention that some products which are sold as "homeophathic" actually do contain ingredients, and in some cases, quite dangerous ingredients.

Unless you live somewhere where the term "homeopathic" is strictly controlled I don't think you can rely on the products having no ingredients.
In the US, "homeopathic" remedies are exempt from a lot of regulatory requirements, so a lot of stuff that isn't really homeopathic (i.e contains no significant amount of anything but sugar or water) are labeled as homeopathic.
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Old 18th January 2018, 09:56 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
I don't know about your neck of the woods but up here pharmacists don't need extra income.
We should always judge what others feel they need or don't need or want or don't want. It's human nature to do that.
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Old 18th January 2018, 09:58 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
We should always judge what others feel they need or don't need or want or don't want. It's human nature to do that.
Yes, I'm just saying that he can send eight kids to college on his basic salary, plus get a boat.
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Old 18th January 2018, 10:02 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by CORed View Post
a lot of stuff that isn't really homeopathic (i.e contains no significant amount of anything but sugar or water) are labeled as homeopathic.
Is there a difference?

'contains no significant amount of anything but sugar or water' is practically a working definition of homeopathic preparations.
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Old 18th January 2018, 10:07 AM   #34
Trebuchet
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I was looking for zinc lozenges last fall when I had a URI (some evidence, not conclusive and not harmful before anyone gives me grief about zinc for a cold). I didn't see the homeopathy label on Zicam and took it up to the pharmacist to ask what 1X translated to in milligrams. He said there is no way to know what is in the stuff because it was homeopathy.

I blame Walgreen's and Bartell's for selling the stuff but the pharmacists don't seem to be doing much to educate their employers.
According to the rules of homeopathy, 1X means 10%. Which is far from what's usually considered homeopathic. Zicam's nasal spray had to be removed from the market because it contained so much zinc people were permanently losing their sense of smell.

Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
By Law, all pharmacies in New Zealand must be owned by pharmacists

http://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/r...ip-and-control



I personally have never seen a pharmacy in NZ selling any kind of tobacco products. They generally sell only "over the counter" medicines, prescription medicines (with a scrip of course) as well as cosmetics, shampoos, soaps, body lotions, sun-screens, personal hygiene products and cosmetics. Some also sell sunglasses and sun-hats.
Most here in the USA are owned by large corporations. If they can make a buck selling fake medicine, booze, and tobacco, they will.
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Old 18th January 2018, 10:17 AM   #35
William Parcher
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
Yes, I'm just saying that he can send eight kids to college on his basic salary, plus get a boat.
You will ultimately be correct even if it means community college and a 16 foot outboard.

I'm curious what his salary actually is. You must know because you don't guesstimate.
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Old 18th January 2018, 10:26 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
You will ultimately be correct even if it means community college and a 16 foot outboard.

I'm curious what his salary actually is. You must know because you don't guesstimate.
I don't know exactly what she makes as I don't usually ask friend's wives their salary, but I know just by moving to another town her hourly wage increased by 12 dollars. I might've exaggerated with the 8 kids but you get the picture.
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Old 18th January 2018, 10:30 AM   #37
Hellbound
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Originally Posted by Worm View Post
Is there a difference?

'contains no significant amount of anything but sugar or water' is practically a working definition of homeopathic preparations.
I think he means that some actually contain measureable amounts of active ingredients...i.e.-Zircam.
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Old 18th January 2018, 10:37 AM   #38
lobosrul5
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
According to the rules of homeopathy, 1X means 10%. Which is far from what's usually considered homeopathic. Zicam's nasal spray had to be removed from the market because it contained so much zinc people were permanently losing their sense of smell.



Most here in the USA are owned by large corporations. If they can make a buck selling fake medicine, booze, and tobacco, they will.
CVS quit selling tobacco at least.
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Old 18th January 2018, 10:41 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Are you in the US or UK? If it's the US look for Coldeeze, Zicam, or Emergen-C.
What am I missing? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8678384
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Old 18th January 2018, 10:50 AM   #40
Hellbound
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Originally Posted by lobosrul5 View Post
The homeopathic labeling on Zicam means it has a much lower standard of regulation than things actually sold as medicine, even though it has actual active ingredients.

When it was first released, it was found to have high enough levels of zinc to cause damage to the nasal passages, possibly including loss of the sense of smell:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2765727/
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Coldand...ory?id=7853178
https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/n...ays-loss-smell
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