Doctors issue warning against pharmacy test 14



View Profile

The President of the Australian Medical Association NSW has issued a warning against a new pharmacy test, saying it is inconclusive, a waste of money and could even put your health at risk.

Saxon Smith posted this message on the AMA NSW website:

“Tests for coeliac disease that are being offered in pharmacies are unreliable and will not give you a clear idea if you have coeliac disease or not.

“The in-pharmacy tests provide both false positive and false negative results. This means someone with coeliac disease may test negative and someone without it may test positive.

“Additionally, coeliac disease has a range of symptoms that are similar to a variety of other serious conditions.

“Even a true negative test for coeliac disease from in-pharmacy testing may give someone, with a different serious illness, false confidence,” Dr Smith said.

The test, which is offered in Amcal Chemists, is simplistic, says Dr Smith, and people who are concerned about any symptoms that could indicate coeliac disease should see their doctor.

“Coeliac disease is a notoriously difficult to diagnose illness and can only be definitively diagnosed by a small bowel biopsy performed by a doctor,” says Dr Smith.

“If you are concerned that you suffer from coeliac disease, don’t go to a chemist – see your family doctor. He or she can begin diagnosis and connect you with the specialist treatment you will need, and this is something your pharmacist cannot do.

“So, save yourself the money and time and go straight to your doctor,” Dr Smith said.

His statement has been backed by Coeliac Australia.
Amcal, which charges $44.99 for the pin-prick blood test, told News Limited, “While this test is not a diagnosis, it is an important starting point that motivates patients to have a conversation about this important condition with a registered health professional, namely their pharmacist and their GP.”
Have you had this test? Would you? Or does it sound like a waste of money to you? 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I wouldn’t get any test done by a pharmacy that would be better being done by a pathology or radiology department. I used to work in pathology and some years ago we had a doctor call with a frantic mother in the surgery who had been told her 3 year old child was diabetic by a pin prick test in a shopping centre. Sure the child was thirsty [hot weather] and had general symptoms. Unfortunately whoever did the pin prick did not wash the childs hands first [properly, not just a swab] and the child had eaten an ice cream, in the way of all 3 year olds. Mum, child and doc were all pretty upset until the results came back indicating there was no real problem with the child’s blood sugar!

  2. Not a good idea if people do not get correct checks!

  3. I know the bone density test they do in chemists are a bit suss. I was told my bone density was fantastic. Trouble is they test your ankle when your hip and spine is the one to test and then mainly with a DEXA machine. I am now on vitamin D as I have osteopenia in the left hip.

  4. I wouldn’t have this test. If I had symptoms of this condition then I would visit my doctor and get a referral to a specialist. Waste of money.

  5. Why do pharmacists pretend to be doctors?

    2 REPLY
    • I think it may be a case of a little knowledge being a bad thing…if I want advice about medication, I would ask a pharmacist, that is their training. If I want to know about the disease process, I ask a doctor..

    • Heidrun Kneebone, Pharmacy has a degree as long as any other medical degree, Pharmacists/chemists are knowledgeable in their own field and are often a first contact for medical advice, they will advise a GP visit if they think it is necessary, many pharmacists are readily available in a system where it is often difficult to get in to see a GP even in an emergency. I spent many years working in pharmacy and have never worked with a pharmacist not prepared to refer to a GP.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *