FTC Issues Enforcement Policy Statement Regarding Marketing Claims for Over-the-Counter Homeopathic Drugs

Nov 21, 2016

By FTC Staff

The Federal Trade Commission today announced a new “Enforcement Policy Statement on Marketing Claims for Over-the-Counter (OTC) Homeopathic Drugs.” The policy statement was informed by an FTC workshop held last year to examine how such drugs are marketed to consumers. The FTC also released its staff report on the workshop, which summarizes the panel presentations and related public comments in addition to describing consumer research commissioned by the FTC.

The policy statement explains that the FTC will hold efficacy and safety claims for OTC homeopathic drugs to the same standard as other products making similar claims. That is, companies must have competent and reliable scientific evidence for health-related claims, including claims that a product can treat specific conditions. The statement describes the type of scientific evidence that the Commission requires of companies making such claims for their products.

Homeopathy, which dates back to the 1700s, is based on the theory that disease symptoms can be treated by minute doses of substances that produce similar symptoms when provided in larger doses to healthy people. Many homeopathic products are diluted to such an extent that they no longer contain detectable levels of the initial substance. According to the policy statement, homeopathic theories are not accepted by most modern medical experts.


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5 comments on “FTC Issues Enforcement Policy Statement Regarding Marketing Claims for Over-the-Counter Homeopathic Drugs

  • @OP – The policy statement explains that the FTC will hold efficacy and safety claims for OTC homeopathic drugs to the same standard as other products making similar claims. That is, companies must have competent and reliable scientific evidence for health-related claims, including claims that a product can treat specific conditions. The statement describes the type of scientific evidence that the Commission requires of companies making such claims for their products.

    Regulation and holding quacks accountable for their claims, is long over due!



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  • 2
    fadeordraw says:

    My current experience is that 50% of my golfing buddies would rather use these treatments, including acupuncture; they have more faith in OTC homeopathic drugs then prescription drugs. Indeed they are highly suspicious of Western Medicine because the money involved is so massive; big parma and rich doctors. I myself, BTW, had the privilege that my life-long best friend and white water wilderness canoeing buddy was a family doctor (on those trips you need to talk a lot and we talked a lot about medicine, the bodies’ health, etc.). While I do always approach medical matters with healthy scepticism, I would never, as my golf buddies have, waver from science and evidence-based understandings of the diagnosis and proposed treatment. But they say, acupuncture has been practiced for over a thousand years, with committed practitioners. And they talking to one another about the OTC homeopathic drugs they are trying. I’m a bit like an atheist over hearing Islamic bible stories and choose not to comment. Now I could say, digging the dagger in, that astrology as well has been practiced for over a thousand years, with committed practitioners. Such demeaning might take me away from my golf game. And it doesn’t matter, they can spend whatever or whatever. Still, ‘tis an interesting factoid that 50% of my golfing buddies have faith in anecdotal-based medical treatments.



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  • fadeordraw #2
    Nov 23, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    Indeed they are highly suspicious of Western Medicine because the money involved is so massive; big pharma and rich doctors.

    Medical services in the USA are more than twice the price of better services in other OECD countries.

    There is less of a problem in the UK, as hospital services and doctor visits are free for UK citizens(Covered by the NHS and National Insurance).

    NHS dental treatments have standard fees, and charges for prescription medicines vary.
    The NHS prescription charge for England is set at £8.40 per item., while in Wales and Northern Ireland they are free.
    Generally pensioners and those needing permanent supplies of medication for chronic conditions, also get free medication in England as part of the service.



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  • As related to the taking of homeopathic drugs, many people would rather “believe” or to die than to think and reason on the basis of evidence. That is why we have Trump as president and evolution is considered ungodly.



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