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Australian Journal of Pharmacy : February 2005
tary medicine ers) this must surely apply to pharmacists as well. Pharmacists will also need to increase their knowledge to prevent possible legal action. For example, what if your cus- tomer is taking warfarin or aspirin? Would you or your pharmacy assistant know to advise the customer against tak- ing coenzyme Q10, vitamin C, ginseng, St John’s wort, or papaya extract (because they can potentially reduce the effect of warfarin)? Would you or your employee, for whom you are ethically and legally responsible, suggest not taking ginkgo biloba, vitamin E, or feverfew (because they could increase the effects of warfarin and aspirin)? And what about advice to encourage customers to take certain products? For example, if someone’s father has prostate cancer, do you encourage the sons to take saw palmetto or avocado extract? If someone has Alzheimer’s in the family, do you encourage the use of niacin-based products and fish oil? Do you know why you should? The problem is how you are going to keep up to date with the research that is pouring out of Harvard, John Hopkins University, Stanford, and all the other leading medical research centres. You could scroll through the Internet and medical research journals, as I do daily, to find the credible journal reports. I doubt you have time to do that beyond responding to a specific customer’s request. Alternatively, you could sign up for our Complementary Medicine research briefs that I send out once or twice a week. (I am sorry to appear to be pushing the not-for-profit Complemen- tary Healthcare Council, but this is our field of expertise.) Below are several examples that have been included in those briefs in just the past month: Magnesium deficiency may result in reduced ability to learn and memorise, while cognitive function may be improved by an abundance of magnesium. [It also helps build bones, regulate body tempera- ture, produce proteins and release energy stored in muscles.] Neuron 2 Dec 2004. Extract of whole avocado fruit have been reported by UCLA scientists to inhibit inhibited cell growth in prostate cancer cells by up to 60 per cent. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry http://gort.ucsd. edu/newjour/j/msg02982.html Iron deficiency may be one of the many contributing causes of ADHD. A small French study shows 80 per cent of children with ADHD have abnormally low serum ferritin levels, with one in three having a level considered extremely low. Archives of Paediatric and Adolescent Medicines http://archpedi.ama-assn. org/cgi/con- tent/abstract/158/12/1113 Chromium picolinate research has won the backing of the US President because evidence shows it can restore normal glucose metabolism by enhanc- ing insulin sensitivity and delay onset of type 2 diabetes—saving the health bud- get millions of dollars. Meanwhile, the UK Food Standards Agency has revised its advice, saying the supplement is safe to use. http://fsnews.findlaw.com/arti- cles/prnewswire/20041216/16dec2004 131000.html Fish oil and antioxidants alter the com- position and function of circulating mononuclear cells in Crohn’s disease. In subjects taking the two, circulating defence cells contained more EPA and DHA and were also producing less inflam- matory chemicals. American Journal of Clin- ical Nutrition 2004;80:1137–44. http:// www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/80/5/ 1137 Vitamin E may play an important role in the prevention of the motor neuron dis- ease ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), according to researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and the American Cancer Society. The study is online at http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi- bin/jissue/78504407 Another option is to do a brief but com- prehensive course in complementary medicine. The CHC has a concise, thor- ough retailer’s course, but you could also find Internet-based courses from univer- sities either here or internationally to update your skills. Not only would your bottom-line ben- efit through increased sales, but your cus- tomers might avoid or have later onset of such diseases as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, prostate problems and asthma. Figure One: Retail market revenue estimates: 2002–2005 ($m) Growth 721 Other HFS Pharmacy Grocery 274 144 167 136 2001/02 Pan year 759 150 173 148 288 2002/03 800 180 156 302 161 2003/04 (CAGR 5.3%) 843 187 162 317 176 2004/05 Source:CHC Ministerial Brief 2003,Aztec scan data 2004, Pharmacy 2003,Retail World 2003, Blackmores financial systems 4.0 4.0 9.0 5.0 Despite Pan,the total market has rebounded strongly across all channels s THE AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACY VOL.86 FEBRUARY 2005 ? 107