Homeopathy: A ‘Giant Regulatory Loophole’

| 7/23/2009 4:22:28 PM

In These Times“Sometimes the only thing worse than homeopathic products that have no effect are the ones that do,” Terry J. Allen writes for In These Times. Allen is referring to certain Zicam products, popular homeopathic cold remedies that contain “pharmaceutically significant” amounts of zinc. Zinc can cause anosmia—loss of the ability to smell—when taken intranasally, which is the case with Zicam.

Back in June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning for consumers to stop using the Zicam products in question. Allen says that the incident shines a bright light on “the giant regulatory loophole that is homeopathy.” While the FDA requires conventional prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines go through testing to be proven safe and effective, these regulations do not apply to homeopathic solutions.

The FDA reserves the right to step in when necessary, which is what happened in June. Up until then, however, this loophole allowed Zicam-maker Matrixx “to slap on the label ‘homeopathic,’ slip under the regulatory wire, and sell 1 billion doses of untested Zicam,” Allen writes.

Source: In These Times

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