Mr. Eder goes to Washington

I’m not going to lie about it. The first thing I thought as I checked into the U.S. Capitol on official business to moderate a special Congressional briefing hosted by the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists was: “Wow, this is pretty cool.”

Truth is, the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists believed that Drug Store News could make some pretty complex ideas understandable for a group of 20-somethings whose job it is to tell 435 members of Congress what to think and how to vote.

What’s easy to understand is that homeopathy is a 200-year-old form of medicine that was discovered by a 19th century German physician who fell into it for much the same reason so many consumers are rediscovering homeopathy today — he was disillusioned with what modern medicine, at the time, had to offer. And, while people today have MUCH better options than, say, bleeding, stories in the consumer press about drug recalls; changes in pediatric dosing; adverse events and side effects; new studies that refute old studies; and possible contamination and counterfeiting, all change the way people think about their options.

According to research conducted by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, one-third of Americans give our health system a failing grade as it relates to wellness and prevention. And they are looking at all options to stay ahead of the illness curve. According to Deloitte, in the last year: 

  • 15% decided NOT to see a doctor when they were sick or hurt, and chose to use an alternative treatment/natural therapy first or instead;

  • 4% switched to a provider that incorporated complementary/alternative therapies into his or her practices; 

  • 14% purchased an OTC instead of filling a prescription — 26% among people without insurance; and

  • 13% used some form of CAM in addition to a prescription drug — 8% INSTEAD of filling a prescription.

As our nation shifts from a patient-oriented model to a consumer-directed model where the emphasis is on preventing rather than treating disease, you can expect these trends to continue. That was my message for a room full of 20-somethings whose job it is to tell 435 members of Congress what to think and how to vote on some pretty complex issues — issues like the future of health care. And I’d be lying to you if I didn’t tell you that as I said it, all I could think was, “Wow, this is pretty cool.”

Rob Eder is the editor in chief of The Drug Store News Group, publishers of Drug Store News, DSN Pharmacy Practice, PharmacyTech News, Specialty Pharmacy and Retail Clinician magazines. You can contact him at


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