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Hope or Hype? The Scourge of Homeopathic Fraud

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Palm Beach, FLThe snake-oil salesman is alive and well, even in 2012. The products may have changed since the days of the horse and buggy, when travelling vendors would set up shop in the town square and pontificate about their miracle cure-alls. But it was a scam then and it's a scam now. Only the terminology has changed. Today, it's known as homeopathic fraud.

The latest volley deals with a homeopathic remedy that has been around since 1954: the HCG diet, or human chorionic gonadotropin to be precise. Fifty-seven years later the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), together with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), were issuing warning letters to producers of these products to cease and desist. The agencies are also warning consumers to steer clear of such claims that promise dramatic weight loss in a matter of days or weeks.

Homeopathy lawsuits often result, after consumers spend their hard-earned dollars and put their hope in something that proves to be little more than hype.

And yet, the homeopathic market is booming and continues to grow, putting the homeopathic camp at loggerheads with traditional medicine. Akin to the divergence of the PC v. the Mac in the computer world, believers in the homeopathic community are fiercely loyal.

There is no shortage of marketing out there to maintain that loyalty, and the homeopathic scam is alive and well.

"These products are marketed with incredible claims, and people think that if they're losing weight, HCG must be working," says Elizabeth Miller, acting director of FDA's Division of Non-Prescription Drugs and Health Fraud, in comments published December 11 in the Palm Beach Post. "But the data simply does not support this; any loss is from severe calorie restriction. Not from the HCG."

HCG actually carries FDA approval for the treatment of female infertility and other medical conditions. In fact, Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is a hormone produced by the human placenta and found in the urine of pregnant women.

However, the purveyors of HCG have found a willing audience of obese and chronically overweight Americans who buy into claims that regular use of HCG in tandem with a severe restriction of calories (500 a day is the limit) will shed pounds.

Of course it will. On 500 calories a day you're going to lose weight dramatically—and you don't need HCG for that. But such a severe caloric restriction is not healthy, doctors say, leading to all sorts of problems, including the emergence of gallstones, an electrolyte imbalance that can affect the body's muscles and nerves, and even produce an irregular heartbeat.

The FDA and FTC have sent letters to seven companies vending the homeopathic remedy, accusing them of homeopathic fraud and imploring them to stop their marketing.

"These HCG products marketed over the counter are unproven to help with weight loss and are potentially dangerous even if taken as directed," said Ilisa Bernstein, acting director of the Office of Compliance in FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, in comments published in the Post. "And a very low calorie diet should only be used under proper medical supervision."

Homeopathic remedies fall into a regulatory grey area. The FDA, for example, carries no jurisdiction for homeopathic products—although it should be noted that some products that meet certain criteria are legitimized in the FDA's eyes and can be marketed. But those are few and far between, leaving manufacturers of the homeopathic remedy a wide berth to make stunning (and often false) claims to an audience pining for the latest miracle product.

What they're getting, more often than not, is homeopathic fraud. The FDA and FTC sent warning letters to seven manufacturers:

Nutri Fusion Systems LLC, Sandy, Utah; Natural Medical Supply, American Fork, Utah; HCG Platinum LLC and Rightway Nutrition LLC, Bluffdale, Utah; and, New York City; HCG Diet Direct, LLC, Tucson, Arizona; and, Orofino, Idaho.

The communiqués warn that recipients are violating federal law by selling unapproved drugs and making unsupported claims akin to a homeopathic scam.

The battle of the bulge remains a never-ending fight for millions of Americans, all searching for the elusive answer to their weight woes. The sad reality of paying good money for a product that allegedly does not work is not just a financial loss (and to some, a financial hardship), but also a huge moral and emotional defeat.

That's when the homeopathy fraud lawsuit comes in.


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Posted by

I am a researcher for and I write an alternative health column, you can reference my expertise at We have two sides here. There is a company in Walmart called hCG solutions that has huge displays in their stores. The FDA overlooked this company and has allowed it to sell in stores ? Here is the truth. The FDA is slapping the companies that did not pay them. Go to Walgreens or Walmart or CVS right now. FDA is not pulling that company off the shelf at all. This company sells the same ingredients than the other companies listed. The FDA needed to target companies selling dangerous off-shore products claiming homeopathic benefit with no quality control or sanitary standards. Instead they went after all but one US lab that the have still allowed to sell. You will not be able to make your case or claim. There are many diets that have 500 calories per day restrictions and less, this is not the real argument, the real argument is that the FDA targeted the companies that did not pay for their compliance. Go to the store, see the facts yourself. Read the book " Impossible Cure" by Amy Lansky to learn about homeopathy and know that homeopathy is widely used in hospitals and is a licensed profession. You also need to take down from the shelfs the products that Holly Madision and Kim Kardashian are marketing as well as Xenadrine which are all dangerous to the heart and endocrine systems.

Posted by

Ladybugg, I agree with everything you say about homeopathy vis a vis allopathy and FDA and pharmaeutical companies. However, none of the companies listed who manufacture the subject "remedy" are known, legitimate homeopathic suppliers, and it is doubtful there is a remedy that will stimulate the body to drop weight unless the obesity is due to a medical condition. Clearly, the makers of this alleged homeopathic don't believe it will work or they would not feel compelled to recommend the severe limitation on calories. It's a scam.

Posted by

Homeopathic remedies are no more fraudulent than allopathic medicine labels and prescription drug counterparts. In fact, homeopathic medicine was more effective than allopathic medicine in the first flu outbreak years ago that killed millions but no one talks about that. Nor do they speak of the millions that die from prescriptions, chemotherapy ect. The FDA is a puppet agency run by Big Pharma and demonizing homeopathic medicine is far from a blessing for the public. It's just too cheap for the profiteers of medicine.


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