Do modern cold and cough remedies hack it?
A defence of Benylin
Bernard Duggan is a pharmacist and chairman of the Irish Pharmacy Union’s Community Pharmacy Committee. While he stops short of offering a blanket defence of Benylin, he believes its products have benefits although they may not work in the way many people assume they do. “Most coughs you have are viral infections and they will run their course so all the cough syrups do is control the symptoms to a degree. “They do have some effect but they won’t cure the cough,” he says. “Like with all medicines, there is a placebo effect going on, too. People take it and they feel better just because they are taking it.”
It is not just cough bottles that came under the Which? microscope. Seven Seas Jointcare tablets claim to “look after your joints”, but Which? experts found there was no evidence that its active ingredients did anything of the kind.
Then there is Bach Rescue Remedy. Very small bottles of this product sell for around €7.50 in Irish chemists. Which? said it was “apparently no more effective at relieving stress than a placebo, according to independent tests”.
The company was unimpressed by the findings but rather than challenging the claims that Rescue Remedy is little more than a placebo, it issued a short, largely meaningless statement to Pricewatch.
“Bach Original Flower Remedies (including Rescue Remedy) have been traditionally used by millions of people since the 1930s to help support emotional well-being. They are manufactured in accordance to Dr Bach’s original methods to the highest quality and safety standards.”
What is missing from the statement is any claim that the product actually works. Duggan is not convinced that it does and says he would be reluctant to recommend it to his customers. When talking about homeopathy, he expresses unease. “It really does not sit well with the science of medicine,” is his opinion.
The IMB says the product is not authorised as a medicine in the Republic.
The Twitter verdict Rescue Remedy
“Great stuff. Does what it says on the tin. Great for dogs too especially tomorrow to keep them calm with bangers .” – Barbara Dalton
“Yes and yes. Dont ask me how it works but it definitely works. Try it.” – Monica Heck.
“I use it just for small new things, when starting work, def takes the edge off, although stinks of alcohol.” – Susie Dalton
“It’s bulls**t.” – Aoife McLysaght
“My entire family swear by it . . . what part of nonsense is not understood.” – Steve Duggan.
“I used it in my younger, more naive days.” – Anne Marie Flynn