CSPI Announces Agreement with Homeopathic Maker Boiron
Label Changes Will More Clearly Identify Homeopathic Products and Disclose that Claims Are Not Based on Accepted Medical Evidence
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) announces its agreement with Boiron to improve the labeling on the homeopathic products manufactured by Boiron and sold under the Boiron or other private label brands. The agreement covers the labeling for over 50 homeopathic products.
On Boiron’s Oscillococcinum and two similar products, Boiron will substantially increase the prominence of the words “Homeopathic Medicine” on the front of the box and the disclaimer on the back of the box that says the product’s uses have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These changes will make it easier for consumers to identify that the products are homeopathic products, and are not FDA approved over-the-counter medicines.
For all of the other homeopathic products manufactured by Boiron, consumers will receive much more information on the packages. In addition to increasing the prominence of the words “Homeopathic Medicine,” a new disclaimer in large and contrasting font will be added to the back of the package (endorsed by the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists) stating: “Claims based on traditional homeopathic practice, not accepted medical evidence, and not FDA evaluated.”
Homeopathy is an alternative medicine practice dating back to the late eighteenth century. Homeopaths believe that substances that cause disease symptoms in a healthy person can, in extremely highly diluted doses, treat those symptoms in a person who is ill. CSPI shares the view of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (“NCCIH”)—the federal government’s lead agency for scientific research on alternative medicines—that “[t]here’s little evidence to support homeopathy as an effective treatment” and “it is not possible to explain in scientific terms how a product containing little or no active ingredient can have any effect.”
“The labeling changes that Boiron has agreed to on all the products covered by the agreement will help consumers more clearly identify that these are homeopathic products and are not FDA approved over-the-counter medicines that have been scientifically proven to be safe and effective,” said CSPI litigation director Lisa Mankofsky. “In addition, the vast majority of the covered homeopathic products will bear a disclaimer clarifying that they are based on traditional homeopathic practice, not accepted medical evidence, and not FDA evaluated. We think that consumers will find this labeling change important when choosing a remedy. We encourage other manufacturers to similarly make their labels more transparent and clear for consumers.”