Do you stock nutraceuticals in your pharmacy?

June 20, 2019By Focus on the Pharmacy Front End Blog, Resources focused on Independent Pharmacy, Step into Natural

By Jen Johnston, CHHC, senior marketing services account manager for the Step into Natural blog series.

Is the term nutraceutical familiar to you and your pharmacy staff? Do you know what products fall under the nutraceutical category?

In some countries, nutraceuticals (a mash up of “nutrition” and “pharmaceuticals”) are a distinct category of products derived from food sources that have health benefits beyond their basic nutritional value. In the U.S., however, the term is not defined by law.

In this country, a product that would fall in the nutraceutical category in other countries is regulated as a drug, dietary supplement, food ingredient, or food depending on its ingredients and marketing claims. According to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), nutraceuticals are dietary supplements. However, not all dietary supplements are nutraceuticals since not all are derived from a food source.

Another way to look at it is that nutraceuticals accomplish disease treatment and prevention goals while dietary supplements simply supplement the diet. But in the U.S., only pharmaceuticals are regulated to treat and prevent, therefore nutraceuticals fall under DSHEA, just like supplements.herbs and supplements

While you might think dietary supplement usage is the domain of the young, adults aged 55 and older report the highest percentage of supplement use at 74%, according to a 2016 Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) consumer survey.

And with many baby boomers also taking prescription drugs, the need for counseling on drug/supplement interactions is important. This is why it is better for patients on prescription drugs to shop for supplements at the pharmacy instead of a natural food store or online.

In this short Pharmacy Times video, Judy Sommers Hanson, PharmD, FAPhA, discusses the important role that pharmacists can play in educating the public about nutraceutical use. She states, “Patients are going to need more guidance when it comes to selecting the appropriate products for their use. Pharmacists are greatly underutilized in this capacity. I think it’s a necessary thing for pharmacists to be able to help their patients select appropriate nutraceuticals to help with disease prevention or disease management.”

Nutraceuticals are a growing segment of products your customers may have questions about, and many are on the natural side of the business. Make it a priority to educate yourself and your staff about the different options, their uses, and possible interactions. Doing so will make you the go-to resource for nutraceuticals in your community.