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FDA Plans Crack Down on $3 Billion Homeopathy Industry

Due numerous reports of serious injury and death attributable to the use of homeopathic drugs, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a new proposal to regulate the $3 billion industry.

The Daily Mail is reporting on a new proposal issued last Month that will target products that pose the biggest safety risks, such as those marketed for children and for serious diseases.

Homeopathy, which dates back to the 1700s, is based on the theory that disease symptoms can be treated by minute doses of substances that produce similar symptoms when provided in larger doses to healthy people. Many homeopathic products are diluted to such an extent that they no longer contain detectable levels of the initial substance. However, homeopaths believe that the water in which it was diluted has a memory of all substances that ever touch it and, therefore, are still effective. Homeopathic theories are not accepted by modern medical experts.

Even though many homeopathic products will remain on the market, those that have been found to be dangerous will not. For example, last year the FDA warned consumers about using teething tablets marketed as Hylands Homeopathic because they were found to contain high levels of belladonna, also called nightshade, which is a poisonous herb.

Other dangerous ingredients include nux vomica, which contains strychnine. Regulators have issued five warning letters just this year to companies selling products with nightshade or nux vomica.

As the Mail reports, in 2009, the FDA ordered Zicam to stop marketing three products that contained zinc gluconate after more than 100 users reported losing their sense of smell.

The new proposal also targets products that claim to be able to treat serious conditions such as cancer, or those that are administered by unconventional means such as injection or eye drops.

Penalties for those companies who violate the new guidelines will be the seizure of products or criminal action.

The FDA will accept comments on the new proposal for the next 90 days before finalizing the guidelines.

In 2016, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also took action against the homeopathy industry and now holds over-the-counter homeopathic “drugs” to the same standard as other products, thus forcing the industry to start providing credible scientific evidence for health related claims.

Although proponents of homeopathy claim to have scientific evidence to support the efficacy of homeopathic solutions, the National Institutes of Health say there is little credible evidence that these medicines are effective for treating any condition.


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