We must oppose the FDA’s actions against homeopathic medicines now. Action Alert!
For months now, we’ve been telling you about the FDA’s latest actions with regard to homeopathic medicines. These actions upend decades of successful regulation of these important products that have been used safely for centuries. The wording of the FDA’s draft guidance threatens all homeopathic medicines and gives the FDA the ability to go after any homeopathic drug it wants to. The comment period for this guidance closes on May 23rd. Concerned citizens can go here to leave their own comment on the guidance, or take action below using ANH’s automated system.
As we’ve reported previously, the FDA’s guidance says:
- Any homeopathic drug that has not been considered “generally recognized as safe and effective” (GRAS/E) is considered a new drug;
- FDA has not determined that any homeopathic drugs are GRAS/E;
- A new drug cannot be marketed unless it goes through the FDA’s approval process;
- No homeopathic drugs have gone through FDA approval nor can any producer afford to take them through the approval process since homeopathic medicines have been in use for centuries and generally cannot be patented.
This means, according to the FDA, all homeopathic medicines are being marketed illegally. The FDA explains that it will focus enforcement actions against specific categories of medicines with safety concerns: products with dangerous ingredients, products intended for vulnerable populations, etc. However, the FDA does reserve the right to take action against any homeopathic product: “This guidance is intended to provide notice that any homeopathic drug product that is being marketed illegally is subject to FDA enforcement action at any time.”
There is not much new in the revised guidance. The FDA does provide a definition of “homeopathic drug,” which was notably absent from the initial guidance, much to the confusion of the homeopathic industry and other stakeholders.
It is somewhat encouraging that the agency did not issue a final guidance, but rather another draft. This is an indication that our voices are being heard and the FDA is worried about political push back from voters who are members of the natural health community.
There seems to be a lot of confusion about homeopathy. While opponents often say that there is not any evidence that homeopathy works, several major meta-analyses have found homeopathic medicines to have an effect greater than placebo. We address these and some other common misconceptions here.
Unfortunately, it’s likely that the FDA’s antipathy towards homeopathy is fueled more by a desire to protect drug industry profits than ignorance about the data. The FDA continues to cite homeopathic teething tablets with belladonna as one of the concerns that prompted the agency to tighten control over homeopathic medicines. Specifically, the agency states that 99 adverse events were “possibly related” to homeopathic teething products. Yet, while the agency did find variable amounts of belladonna in some products, these amounts were well within safe limits, even if an infant swallowed an entire bottle.
Homeopathic medicines compete on the same unlevel playing field as supplements against pharmaceutical drugs. Because homeopathic medicines generally cannot be patented, no company can afford the astronomical expense of FDA-approval, meaning that homeopathic drugs cannot make disease claims. This deprives consumers of information about medicines that could help them stay healthy.
The FDA will not stop this attack on homeopathy unless it is forced to do so by engaged citizens. We must issue a strong response to the FDA and Congress, telling the government that these actions threaten the future of homeopathic medicine.
Action Alert! Go to Regulations.gov and leave a comment telling the FDA to protect homeopathy! You can also hit the button below to send a message to Congress and the FDA. Please send your message immediately.