Patient trust put at risk by pharmacist ‘companion selling’

EXPERTS have urged caution against advertising prompts for Blackmores products appearing in pharmacy software, warning the practice undermines patient trust in pharmacists and risks patient health.

The warning follows the publishing of controversial comments made by Blackmores CEO Christine Holgate, likening the adding of her company’s products to prescription sales, via the prompts, to pharmacy staff adding “Coke and fries” to a take­away food order.

The Blackmores-Pharmacy Guild partnership will see the GuildCare software provide a prompt to pharmacists to recommend one of four “Blackmores Companions” products – due to go on sale this month – when certain prescriptions are filled.

National Prescribing Service CEO Dr Lynn Weekes (PhD) said companion selling as a routine practice was not appropriate and could cause more confusion about medicines and possibly adverse effects.

AMA president Dr