I’m happy to see a lawsuit the Center For Inquiry has filed against Boiron Inc. — one of the largest manufacturers of homeopathic “remedies” — for deceiving the public with useless products that aren’t medicine.
I have written on this topic many times before, but in case you’re not familiar with the homeopathy scam, here’s the bottom line. Homeopathic “remedies” are nothing more than water with supposed miracle properties because somewhere long ago, before it was diluted to a logarithmically infinitesimal amount, a drop of some so-called cure was added to it.
The truth is that homeopathic products can only solve one medical problem: dehydration.
But Boiron and other manufacturers of this nonsense would go out of business if consumers knew that, so they cover their falsehoods with broad exaggerations and more lies. From CFI’s press release:
“Boiron sells little pills of sugar with grandiose claims. It’s hard to believe anyone would try to pass off such junk as a surefire way to treat painful skin problems, heal mental health issues, and even to counteract menopause,” said CFI Staff Attorney Aaron D. Green. “But Boiroin has been doing just that by tricking consumers into risking their health and throwing away their money on its fancy faux ‘medicines.’ It’s time for Boiron and all homeopathy hucksters to be held accountable.”
In its complaint, CFI notes that Boiron sells Saccharum officinale as a treatment for “nervous agitation in children after overindulgence.”
“Most parents would rightfully be skeptical of this product if Boiron told them what Saccharum officinale actually is,” said Green. “Table sugar.”
If they’re just water, why are homeopathic products dangerous? Because too many people consider them legitimate remedies for all sorts of health problems. Drug stores carry these items with no warnings or public pronouncements, so consumers figure they must do what they say they’ll do or they wouldn’t be allowed to be sold. But the federal government offers an absolute minimum of regulation and virtually no obstacle to their sale (neither do any state governments).
Worse, people with real health issues ingest this stuff rather than visiting doctors who can prescribe actual medicine. It’s no different than the negative impact from faith healers, who falsely claim they’re curing congregants while doing anything but.
CFI has filed similar lawsuits against Walmart and CVS for carrying homeopathic products, but the legal road has so many twists and turns the cases haven’t been resolved yet. Here’s hoping they soon will be, because it would be nice in this era of so much disinformation for at least one of its culprits to be held responsible.
In his appearances around the world, my old friend James Randi used to begin his presentations by swallowing the contents of a full bottle of homeopathic sleeping pills. If that were real medicine, it would have been a fatal dose. Yet Randi did it over and over for nearly a decade, and never had even a mild symptom, nor did he become the least bit sleepy — because they were nothing more than sugar pills!
Here’s Randi’s TED Talk from 2010 in which he discussed the lies at the heart of homeopathy, among other subjects…