Homeopathy drugs in US to carry disclaimer there’s no evidence they work

US Federal Trade Commission has mandated disclaimer on homeopathy medicines that there is no scientific evidence that the product being bought works


India is also a market for the consumption and exports of homeopathic and natural remedies. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
India is also a market for the consumption and exports of homeopathic and natural remedies. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

New Delhi: Homeopathic medicines being sold in the US will soon need to carry a disclaimer stating that there is no scientific evidence that the product being bought works. As per the decision conveyed by the Federal Trade Commission of the US, all over-the-counter homeopathic medicines being sold would need to carry disclaimers to the effect that these formulations are based on archaic principles from centuries ago and have no medical experts backing them.

“In general, homeopathic product claims are not based on modern scientific methods and are not accepted by modern medical experts, but homeopathy nevertheless has many adherents,” said the FTC notice.

The Enforcement Policy Statement released by the independent antitrust regulator further stated that homeopathic drugs are not exempt from rules that apply to other health products when it comes to claims of efficacy and therefore have no case to be treated differently.

“The FTC has long recognized that marketing claims may include additional explanatory information in order to prevent the claims from being misleading. Accordingly, the promotion of an OTC homeopathic product for an indication that is not substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence may not be deceptive if that promotion effectively communicates to consumers that there is no scientific evidence that the product works, and the product’s claims are based only on theories of homeopathy from the 1700s that are not accepted by most modern medical experts,” the FTC notice stated.

A report by Transparency Market Research estimates that the global homeopathy product market, which was valued at $3,867.7 million in 2015, is expected to reach $17,486.2 million by the end of 2024, exhibiting a compounded annual growth rate of 18.2% over the period between 2016 and 2024.

Homeopathic remedies are based on the idea, developed around the late 18th century, that substances responsible for diseases when administered in high doses, when delivered in extremely diluted doses, can cure those very diseases.

Critics of the homeopathy system have argued that this step is long overdue for something that is nothing more than placebo and the body’s immune system recovering by itself. Manufacturers of homeopathic medicines are, obviously, on the opposite side of the debate, stating that consumers should be free to discern any health benefits from the formulations as long as it’s not harmful to their health.

India is also a market for the consumption and exports of homeopathic and natural remedies, with products from India and their exports totaling Rs2,267.5 crore in 2013-14, as per a Rajya Sabha question answered by former health minister Harsh Vardhan a few years back.

READ MORE