WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced Nov. 15 a new “Enforcement Policy Statement on Marketing Claims for Over-the-Counter (OTC) Homeopathic Drugs.” This comes after an FTC workshop last year that examined how these drugs are marketed to consumers.
The FTC’s new policy will hold efficacy and safety claims for OTC homeopathic drugs to the same standards as other products making similar claims. Companies selling these homeopathic drugs must present competent and reliable scientific data for health-related claims.
Homeopathy, a practice dating to the 1700s, involves treating disease symptoms by introducing minute doses of substances that produce similar symptoms when provided in larger doses to healthy people. The FTC noted in its policy statement that most modern medical experts do not accept homeopathic theories.
For most OTC homeopathic drugs, the policy states “the case for efficacy is based solely on traditional homeopathic theories and there are no valid studies using current scientific methods showing the product’s efficacy.”
This would make the marketing claims for these products misleading. However, the FTC notes the drug companies can provide extra information for consumers that would validate the marketing claims. The information would need to effectively communicate that no scientific evidence supports the product, and that the product’s claims are based on theories of homeopathy from the 1700s that are not accepted by most modern medical experts.