Backlash: Taree pharmacist Ian Carr says he has never stocked homeopathic products and hopes his colleagues will follow suit. Photo: Carl Muxlow

Pressure is mounting on pharmacists to stop selling homeopathic products after a major review found there was no credible scientific evidence to support the alternative medicines.

Despite scepticism about homeopathy among pharmacists, many pharmacies sell homeopathic products that are marketed for illnesses including migraine headaches, bleeding, persistent nausea and vomiting, coughs and colds, insomnia and arthritic pain.

But there are now increasing calls for them to abandon the products after a major National Health and Medical Research Council review of homeopathy concluded there was no reliable evidence it could treat health conditions.

The review, released earlier this month, also stated: ''People who choose homeopathy, instead of proven conventional treatment, may put their health at risk if safe and evidence-based treatments are rejected or delayed in favour of homeopathic treatment.''

While the review has been criticised by homeopaths who are appealing the finding, some doctors and pharmacists say it should make it unethical for pharmacists to continue stocking and selling homeopathic products.

Under the Pharmacy Board of Australia code of conduct, pharmacists are required to practice ''in accordance with the current and accepted evidence base of the health profession, including clinical outcomes'' and by ''facilitating the quality use of therapeutic products based on the best available evidence and the patient or client's needs''.

John Dwyer, an immunologist and emeritus professor of medicine at the University of NSW, said given pharmacists were currently lobbying to perform more healthcare, such as vaccinations and disease screening, it was time they put their ethics ahead of profits and stopped selling useless homeopathic products.

He said the increasing commercialisation of pharmacies had led many to stock a range of dubious complementary and alternative medicines, giving them an air of credibility that could mislead the public.

''One can only imagine that commercial reasons dominate,'' he said.

Grant Kardachi, president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, the professional body representing 18,000 pharmacists, said he planned to inform members about the review council's report because homeopathy did not sit well with their aim for pharmacies to become more professional ''health hubs''.

''I think we'd be saying you should seriously consider, if you are stocking these products in your pharmacy, what that actually means, and you should be looking at other products in your pharmacy to treat patients' health conditions where you know there is more evidence,'' he said.

Greg Turnbull, from the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, which represents pharmacy owners, said it did not plan to do anything with the review.

Taree pharmacist Ian Carr said he had never stocked homeopathic products and hoped his colleagues would follow suit. ''I, personally, think that the professionalism of pharmacy is threatened by the selling of non-evidence based products,'' he said.