It’s time to stop giving snake oil salesmen the benefit of the doubt.

Posted 20 May 2020

Centre for Enquiry April 13, 2020

[CamCheck does not focus on homeopathy. However, the points made in the article are appropriate for CamCheck by substituting ‘alternative medicine’ for homeopathy. Editor]

The makers of homeopathic medicine want it both ways.

  • They want their “drugs” to be treated like real medicine, to be able claim they can treat all kinds of ailments, and sell them right alongside evidence-based medicines on pharmacy shelves.
  • They also don’t want their products to be held to the same rigorous standards of safety and efficacy as real medicine. They don’t want to have to prove their stuff actually works, because, of course, they know it doesn’t.

Homeopathy is perhaps the most obviously phony form of alternative medicine, and we simply can’t assume that those who manufacture and market it are acting in good faith, any more than we assume positive intent from a fraud psychic who fleeces clients out of their life savings to remove a curse.

But this is how Food and Drug Administration policy has treated homeopathy’s profiteers for years, allowing them to make all manner of outrageous claims about homeopathy’s healing powers while evading any meaningful oversight or regulation.

The Center for Inquiry is doing something about it. We’ve just filed our official response to the FDA’s draft guidelines on homeopathic drugs, telling them that they need to stop giving snake oil salesmen the benefit of the doubt and hold them accountable to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act like all other drug manufacturers.

In the middle of a global pandemic, when people are feeling scared and vulnerable, and when misinformation floods social media, the officials charged with protecting Americans’ health need to take a firmer stand against pseudoscience. Now is the time for the FDA to enforce its own rules, and stop making special exceptions for what they know to be fake medicine.

CFI is the leading organization taking on the deceptive marketing of homeopathic medicine. Our years of advocacy has led to stricter regulations in the marketing of homeopathic products from the Federal Trade Commission, and we are currently waging two major consumer-protection lawsuits against Walmart and CVS over their sale and marketing of homeopathics. We are making a real difference.

Like no other time before, we need a zero-tolerance approach to pseudoscience and snake oil. This is the era where science and evidence must prevail, for all our sakes. Join us in this effort, and be part of the solution.

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