As of December 2018, the FDA has proposed a new, risk-based enforcement approach to homeopathic drug products that have the greatest potential to cause risk to patients.
This represents a welcome first step in attempting to regulate so-called “alternative medicine”, which has, as mentioned several times in this and in other related platforms, the potential to cause serious and potentially deadly harm to patients who chose to rely on it. Perhaps as a response to the increasing tide of indignation from the scientific community, the FDA now resolves to control these products more carefully and hopefully ensuring that patients make more informed decisions about the treatment they receive.
It is often surprising to discover that many people who occasionally use homeopathic remedies for common ailments are not fully aware of the rationale behind the preparations they are buying and taking. Homeopathy is based upon the principle that water has memory and as such is able to mimic the properties of molecules that have been diluted within it. This is why most homeopathic preparations contain an incredibly diluted stock of whatever main ingredient they are supposed to contain. In fact, myth busters armed with a calculator have been able to demonstrate that most homeopathic preparations do not actually contain a single component of the active ingredient, therefore relying solely on the concept of “water memory”. Of course, these principles have been debunked by physicists all over the world as pseudoscience – as well as by those with common sense. In short, homeopathy is based on entirely non-scientific principles according to every scientific community on the planet. And yet, they are of course allowed to sell their preparations claiming all sorts of frankly improbable health benefits.
The FDA has finally come to its senses and has decided to regulate the claims that these products make. While of course everyone should be able to make whatever decisions they wish regarding their health, it is completely irresponsible to market products to desperate people with terminal conditions and expect them to make rational choices. The FDA is therefore planning to crack down on those products that have been marketed for cancer and heart disease, as well as those that have been reported to have potential side effects. In fact, homeopathic treatments re not required by law to describe accurately all the potential side effects as traditional medicines are, since they are not sold as pharmaceutical and are therefore not subject to the same level of scrutiny and to the same standards. However, there have been several cases of potential side-effects caused by homeopathic remedies, which suggests that the FDA inquiry will have its work cut out come the New Year. We can only hope this is the beginning of a new wave of pro-science actions taken by the government to keep patients and their families safe from unscrupulous snake-oil peddlers.