Main Article Content
Natural health products, verbal claims, pharmacy, natural health stores, pharmacists, garlic, calcium, magnesium, hypertension
This study tested the hypothesis that while there are no written medical claims existing for many NHP,such claims are made verbally, giving a false impression that these are proven medical products.
To compare the number and type of verbal claims for NHP made by pharmacists to those made by health food stores personnel.
Randomly selected Canadian pharmacies selling NHP and health food stores were visited and the staff was asked to recommend natural health products for the treatment of hypertension.
All health food stores (n=20) but only 4 out of 38 pharmacies (p< 0.001) recommended NHP for the treatment of hypertension. A majority of health food store staff (70%) stated that NHP are superior or equal to medicinal drugs in treating hypertension based on efficacy.
Unlike pharmacy practice, 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. These may be a very effective approach given that 30-40% of North American adults are functionally illiterate. These verbal claims are often inappropriate and not evidence-based.
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