Concerns over placebo pill for kids

Responding to reports in the media that Obecalp, a placebo pill for children, is due to be made available on the UK market, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain's (RPSGB) Chief Scientist, Jayne Lawrence said:

"The RPSGB is concerned that this product is due to be made available on the UK market as a placebo pill to give to children.

"As a dietary supplement, the manufacturers have not been required to carry out clinical trials. Further, the use of this drug indicates that symptoms diagnosis and advice have not been sought from a qualified healthcare professional, which runs the risk of misdiagnosis.

"We are also concerned that giving a child the pill reinforces the wrong message - that tablets are the answer for all of life's aches and pains."

Pharmacists are trained healthcare professionals and are experts in medicines management. They can offer comprehensive advice on a range of common illnesses and suitable medication if necessary. Pharmacists have significant healthcare knowledge and will refer patients to their GP when necessary.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) is the professional and regulatory body for pharmacists in England, Scotland and Wales. It also regulates pharmacy technicians on a voluntary basis, which is expected to become statutory under anticipated legislation. The primary objectives of the RPSGB are to lead, regulate, develop and represent the profession of pharmacy.

The RPSGB leads and supports the development of the profession within the context of the public benefit. This includes the advancement of science, practice, education and knowledge in pharmacy. In addition, it promotes the profession's policies and views to a range of external stakeholders in a number of different forums. Following the publication in 2007 of the Government White Paper Trust, Assurance and Safety - The Regulation of Health Professionals in the 21st Century, the RPSGB is working towards the demerger of its regulatory and professional roles. This will see the establishment of a new General Pharmaceutical Council and a new professional body for pharmacy in 2010.

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