In November 2016, the FTC sent shockwaves through the homeopathic community when it announced that homeopathic drugs – which had long occupied a special status in America’s food and drug laws – would now be subject to the same standards as over the counter drugs.
About FDA Homeopathic Marketing Claims New Policy Statement
Virtually overnight, the FTC announced that it was clamping down on the homeopathic industry. The problem is that most homeopathic drugs are backed by no scientific evidence whatsoever. If these drugs were held to the same standard as OTC drugs, then all homeopathic drugs would be banned from the marketplace.
In addition, the FTC’s statement announced a new requirement for homeopathic drugs to feature a special warning label. The label needs to mention that homeopathic drugs have no scientific evidence reinforcing their effectiveness and that their efficacy is based on experiments from the 1700s.
You can read the full FTC press release regarding their new treatment of homeopathic drugs here.
What do these new FTC requirements mean for you? How will the FTC’s ruling change the world of homeopathy? Let’s take a closer look at how this may affect the future of the industry.
The FTC Isn’t Banning Homeopathic Drugs
First, let’s make one thing clear: the FTC did not announce that it was banning homeopathic drugs. Instead, it announced it was banning the way certain homeopathic drugs are marketed.
Even the biggest fans of homeopathic drugs would probably agree there are some issues with the way these drugs are marketed. Homeopathic drug manufacturers claim that their drugs do everything from “cleanse the colon” to “cure cancer”. That’s a problem when there is no scientific evidence backing up any health claims.
The FTC is cracking down on the way homeopathic drugs are marketed. That means you’ll see fewer fraudulent health claims on homeopathic drug packaging.
The FTC Wants You to Know That Homeopathic Drugs Are Backed By No Scientific Evidence
From climate change to vaccines, there’s been a growing trend of Americans rejecting overwhelming scientific evidence. Homeopathic drugs continue to be a multi-billion dollar industry in America. As Americans turn to more and more natural cures and holistic treatments, homeopathic drugs have remained popular.
That’s why the FTC – which is responsible for ensuring companies play fair in their advertising – decided to take action.
The FTC wants the American public to know that homeopathic drugs are backed by no modern scientific evidence. Homeopathy is based on the idea that an infinitesimal dilution of something that makes you sick will cure you.
In other words, a homeopathic cure for the cold would contain a very tiny percentage of the substance that causes the cold.
What this means is that most homeopathic drugs are made up of purified water or alcohol and nothing else. Homeopaths believe that the greater the dilution, the more powerful the drug will be. The logical end game is that most homeopathic drugs end up containing very little of the active ingredient.
The FTC’s recent changes require homeopathic drugs to specifically mention the fact, on their labeling. The label needs to mention that the drug isn’t backed by modern scientific evidence, and that homeopathic drug users are essentially drinking sugar water.
The American Institute of Homeopathy is Really Mad at the FTC
After the FTC released their statement about homeopathy in November 2016, the American Institute of Homeopathy (AIH) called the FTC’s position “unqualified and wholly lacking in merit.”
The AIH went on to explain that the FTC was creating mistrust and causing harm to a “respected system of medicine in the United States”.
As BigThink.com reports, that’s a big statement for the AIH to make considering there were only 75 homeopathic practitioners in all of America in 1970. It has only become a part of America’s medical industry in recent years. In 2007, the industry was worth $2.7 billion in the United States alone.
“Good Homeopathic Companies” Have Already Changed their Labeling
According to a report on Pharmacist.com, certain companies have already changed their labeling. Pharmacist.com interviewed Gary Kracoff, NMD, BSPHarm, who claims that,
“The good homeopathic companies label very well. They’ve been doing it on their own, changing their labeling as needed, to make it easier for the consumer to understand because that’s ethically what you should do.”
Nevertheless, the “bad” homeopathic companies are the ones that the FTC and FDA are targeting. These are the companies that continue to make grandiose claims about the effectiveness of their homeopathic treatments – despite the lack of scientific evidence.
The New Head of the FDA Will Likely Support Homeopathy
Trump’s America will usher in a new era for the country in many different ways.
Some of the biggest changes might occur in the way the Food and Drug Administration is run: Trump’s pick for the new head of the FDA, Jim O’Neill, has plans to remove most of the government’s drug approval processes, which prevent unproven, untested, and unsafe drugs from being used on the American public.
The FDA’s current drug approval processes are designed to ensure the safety of the American people and prevent the public from being used as guinea pigs by pharmaceutical organizations.
Jim O’Neill’s philosophy is that the free market will figure out what works and what doesn’t.
In a certain idealist world, that might make sense. Unfortunately, we’ve seen that it specifically doesn’t work for the homeopathic industry, as people clearly haven’t “figured out” that homeopathic drugs are backed by no scientific evidence.
That’s why the appointment of Jim O’Neill as head of the FDA could be very good news for the homeopathic industry: in an America with limited drug regulation, placebo treatments like homeopathic drugs will get their opportunity to shine – regardless of whether they’re backed by any scientific evidence.