Homeopathy is based on a principle that medicine that resembles the symptoms of a condition assists your body in healing itself. Such remedies are controversial because it is not known exactly how they work, and because the claims made by homeopathic care providers or companies that market homeopathic remedies are often unsubstantiated. Depending on the condition being treated, the homeopathic remedy is usually available over the counter or via prescription. If the remedy is intended to cure minor conditions, such as a headache, then the remedy is self-prescribed by the patient and available over the counter. If it is for major conditions, such as cancer, it is prescribed by a physician.
The FDA has sent warning letters to companies that market homeopathic remedies, warning them about what they can and cannot say about their products. For example, on June 8, 2010, an FDA warning letter was sent to Homeopathy for Health, warning the organization that its website offered products to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure the H1N1 Flu Virus in people, despite the products not having been approved by the FDA for such purposes.
In cases where a homeopathic product is marketed to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure a condition that is considered a nationwide public health emergency—such as the H1N1 Flu scare—the FDA can take action against the product's makers.
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According to the FDA, HCG is approved to treat female infertility but not as a weight-loss drug. Furthermore, the prescription label reportedly acknowledges that there is no evidence that use of HCG increases weight loss beyond what would normally be lost under extreme caloric reduction.
An HCG advocacy group is appealing the FDA's announcement.