I’m waiting to see if the recent death of a 7-year old boy in Italy has any effect on how the FDA regards homeopathic products. The child was originally diagnosed with a common ear infection. Eschewing antibiotics, the parents opted to treat the boy with preparations provided by a homeopath. The boy eventually lapsed into a coma and died three days later. The Italian court sentence the parents to a three month sentence for aggravated manslaughter. We all know this is just the latest in a long list of therapeutic failures by homeopathy. This madness must end!
This so-called alternative medicine is simply quackery, nonsense, and vile bullshit born of greed and ignorance. I’ve been through this before, so please read Duck and Cover! for more information.
Now, I’d like to spend some time holding the FDA accountable. here is what the FDA says about homeopathic products. The most telling statement, to me, in that document is, “prescription and nonprescription drug products labeled as homeopathic have been manufactured and distributed without FDA approval under the enforcement policies in FDA’s Compliance Policy Guide (CPG) 400.400 since 1988.”
Here is what those brilliant scientists in Congress concluded about homeopathic products: “due to the unique nature of these drug products, some requirements of 21 CFR 211 are not applicable, as follows:
- Section 211.137 (Expiration dating) specifically exempts homeopathic drug products from expiration dating requirements.
- Section 211.165 (Testing and release for distribution): In the Federal Register of April 1, 1983 (48 FR 14003), the Agency proposed to amend 21 CFR 211.165 to exempt homeopathic drug products from the requirement for laboratory determination of identity and strength of each active ingredient prior to release for distribution.
So the FDA has been effectively neutered and lacks power to act. According to statistica.com sales of these products approached half a billion dollars in 2018. A part of that money is used to buy, oops sorry, lobby congress to keep the FDA and sanity from impeding profits. Yet another example of corporate greed influencing our so-called representatives. Vote ’em out!
To add insult to injury, notice that there are homeopathic prescription products. A recent student on rotation, Reggie Greenwood, easily identified over a dozen homeopathic Rx products. This was prompted by the arrival of a worker’s compensation prescription for Traumeel. Granted this is a small part of what is wrong with our health care system as only about 2% of American use homeopathic products, although that number is growing. I take heart in the fact that there are lawsuits pending against retailers like CVS and WalMart for deceiving customers by offering these products. Thank the Center for Inquiry for these lawsuits. They state, “CFI, an organization advancing reason and science, says the mega-retailer is deceiving consumers by making no meaningful distinction between real medicine and useless homeopathic treatments on its shelves and in its online store, misrepresenting homeopathy’s safety and efficacy.“
Other retail outlets should beware. I have spent a fair amount of my time as a pharmacist dissuading patients from spending money on this crap and I won’t stop.
The American Institute of Homeopathy spent $100,000 lobbying Congress last year. That is just one of the groups that is involved, with friendly sounding names like the Integrative Health Policy Consortium, and the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists (WTF!!!???!!). I’m not going to bother linking to those websites.
Don’t let your friends or loved ones waste their money on this crap!
Emphasis used in quotes are my editorial prerogative.