White Paper on Natural Products
The American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) published an initial white paper on herbal products in 2000. Since then, the global market for natural products has continued to expand, with tens of millions of consumers using such products on an annual basis in the United States alone. However, despite this expansion, natural products remain largely unregulated compared with prescription medications, have moderate- to low-level clinical evidence for efficacy, and continue to have safety concerns, including adulteration and misbranding. As comprehensive medication management experts, clinical pharmacists are uniquely qualified to navigate these concerns and advise patients appropriately. To develop and recommend a suitable care plan involving natural products, clinical pharmacists must establish a strong pharmacist-patient relationship, assess the appropriateness of therapy, educate the patient regarding key issues, and continuously monitor and follow up on the effectiveness of the care plan. This process should not only occur in an individual community or hospital setting, but also whenever a patient transitions from one care setting to another in cooperation with other clinicians.