FTC: Homeopathic Product Claims Must Be Backed Up

Says it either wants scientific evidence or clear disclosures

The FTC has put the advertisers of homeopathic remedies—nerve tonics, pain relievers—on notice that they will either have to get scientific backing for the efficacy of their health claims or "effectively communicate the lack of scientific evidence backing them and that their claims are based only on theories of homeopathy from the 1700s that are not accepted by most modern medical experts."

The FTC said it is just holding those over-the-counter remedies to the same standards as other products making similar claims.

The FTC issued that enforcement policy statement this week along with a staff report on over-the-counter homeopathic drugs that came to that conclusion.

The vote to approve the new guidance was 3-0.

The FTC back in 1972 held that all objective product claims have to be substantiated. But in 1988, the FDA advised that homeopathic drugs could be

The FTC has put the advertisers of homeopathic remedies—nerve tonics, pain relievers—on notice that they will either have to get scientific backing for the efficacy of their health claims or "effectively communicate the lack of scientific evidence backing them and that their claims are based only on theories of homeopathy from the 1700s that are not accepted by most modern medical experts."

The FTC said it is just holding those over-the-counter remedies to the same standards as other products making similar claims.

The FTC issued that enforcement policy statement this week along with a staff report on over-the-counter homeopathic drugs that came to that conclusion.

The vote to approve the new guidance was 3-0.

The FTC back in 1972 held that all objective product claims have to be substantiated. But in 1988, the FDA advised that homeopathic drugs could be distributed without demonstrating their efficacy, and the FTC has rarely challenged misleading claims for homeopathic drugs.

“This is a real victory for reason, science, and the health of the American people,” said Michael De Dora, public policy director for the Center for Inquiry, which had urged the FCC to crack down on what it said was false advertising of homeopathic products. “The FTC has made the right decision to hold manufacturers accountable for the absolutely baseless assertions they make about homeopathic products.”

The FTC has rarely challenged misleading claims for homeopathic drugs.

“This is a real victory for reason, science, and the health of the American people,” said Michael De Dora, public policy director for the Center for Inquiry, which had urged the FCC to crack down on what it said was false advertising of homeopathic products. “The FTC has made the right decision to hold manufacturers accountable for the absolutely baseless assertions they make about homeopathic products.”