Recently, the Center for Inquiry filed a lawsuit against Boiron, one of the largest homeopathic manufacturers in the country, under Washington, D.C.’s consumer protection laws, alleging the company engages in “unfair and deceptive practices.”
If this feels like deja-vu, you’d be correct; it is the same move that was pulled a number of years ago in California. These legal attacks, combined with the FDA’s broadside against homeopathy in 2018, emphasize why we need to keep telling Congress to protect our access to these important natural medicines.
The Center for Inquiry’s legal complaint reads more like an opinion column than a serious legal argument. It contains outrageous exaggerations, including statements such as “Boiron offloads otherwise worthless products upon the unwitting, the ill-informed and the vulnerable;” “Homeopathy is Pseudoscience; Quackery; Faux Medicine; Health Fraud;” that Boiron’s business is based “upon a fiction.”
In the California case, Boiron settled the class action, essentially agreeing to refund consumers who purchased their cold remedy ColdCalm. But the plaintiff’s goal of removing ColdCalm from store shelves in California was denied by the court.
The belief that homeopathy is a fraud is unfortunately representative of the view held by those in mainstream medicine, who tend to be the same people who think supplements are useless. Both of these assertions are untrue.
A 2014 meta-analysis of clinical trials of individualized homeopathic treatments concluded that homeopathic patients were almost twice as likely to experience a therapeutic benefit as those given a placebo.
As the FDA dangles the axe over homeopathy at the federal level, states are (and have been) getting in on the action to restrict access.