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How Boiron Scammed Me… And Paid for It PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Carrie Poppy   

Would you believe it? Just one month ago I blogged here about my experience trying to cure my cold using Coldcalm, a homeopathic remedy manufactured by alternative-medicine giant, Boiron. You may remember this video, wherein I questioned Boiron about the fact that their "medicine" has no active ingredients in it, and asked for a refund:

 

Just today, I opened my mailbox to find one refund cheque from Boiron in the exact amount I paid: $10.29. Interestingly, the company felt it necessary to send me my refund by certified mail, costing them an extra $6 in postage.

Boiron

It would seem that if a person wanted to make a dent in Boiron's bottom line, they would only have to buy a package of Coldcalm (or one of their other homeopathic remedies) and demand a refund for being sold sugar pills in lieu of medicine, thereby costing the company not only the wholesale price of the product, but also a hefty postage fee. Not that I would ever recommend such a thing.  

But there's better news. In response to six class action lawsuits, Boiron has decided to add a disclaimer to their products, stating that their claims have not been evaluated, and describing the almost-unbelievable homeopathic dilution process. It's a step in the right direction, but it doesn't address the customers who have already bought Boiron remedies, thinking they are actual medicine, only to learn that it's got nothing in it. Encourage Boiron to lengthen their return policy so everyone can get their money back when they realize they've been duped. Click here to take action

 

Carrie Poppy is the co-host of the investigative podcast Oh No, Ross and Carrie. She plans to spend her $10.29 on a beet burger.

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Some do ....
written by jadebox, April 13, 2012
In the petition you state that no homeopathic products have active ingredients. My mother-in-law bought a "homeopathic" ear ache remedy from CVS a while back. It actually had glycerin in it, so it did have an active ingredient. Glycerin is used to loosen ear wax, so it might actually serve as an ear ache remedy. The problem was that she paid $9 for a small bottle of the "homeopathic" product when a large bottle of glycerin cost about 1/3 as much. I returned the "homeopathic" product and bought her a bottle of glycerin.

Many products labeled "homeopathic" actually have active ingredients. Sometimes they work and are generally safe as with the ear drops. But, sometimes, those ingredients do direct harm such as the zinc in a cold remedy that caused people to lose the sense of smell.

Even if the product has no active ingredient, homeopathic remedies cause harm. Not only do they not cure anything, homeopathic products are usually self-prescribed or prescribed by people without real medical training. So, the use of the useless "medication" may allow a real problem to go undiagnosed and untreated.

It's horrible that companies are allowed to market products as medicine without proof of safety and efficacy.
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written by krelnik, April 13, 2012
Great post, Carrie!

As for the harm mentioned by Jadebox, if anyone wonders about that, check out the homeopathy page on my site What's the Harm.
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Great followup
written by WendyH, April 15, 2012
Good job, Carrie! Great follow up. I'm jazzed about the class action. It's unfortunate that many people can't afford genuine science based medical intervention; I think that's one of the reasons homeopathic and other OTC drugs are used. But that's another topic. You have, again, done the legwork so we don't have to.
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Hi, Jadebox.
written by CarriePoppy, April 15, 2012
It's absolutely true that many products are mislabeled as homeopathic when they are not. This is a serious problem, and shouldn't be taken lightly. That said, true homeopathy never contains active ingredients, by definition. The petition is directed at Boiron, which makes truly homeopathic products-- they contain no active ingredients and are accurately labeled homeopathic.
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Maybe I should return mine too
written by SueW, April 15, 2012
I still have a box of Coldcalm that I bought years ago. I bought it because I happened to be in a health food store at the time, and they didn't have any real remedies, and I didn't feel like stopping anywhere else. Needless to say, it didn't do anything for me.

The other reason I bought it was, I didn't know at the time what the word "homeopathic" meant. And this is the problem - most people probably *don't* know what it means. And in places like Walgreens, they put these sort of worthless remedies on the same shelf with real medicine. So how is the consumer supposed to know the difference?
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Sue, please do!
written by CarriePoppy, April 15, 2012
Technically, their refund policy only lasts two weeks, but the petition urges them to let anyone who's EVER bought Coldcalm or other Boiron products get their money back. You should set a precedent by demanding your money back for their fake medicine!
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written by Baloney, April 16, 2012
My six-year-old had a cold yesterday and asked me to go buy him something to stop his runny nose. While at the store, picking out an antihistimine, he wanted me to make sure it was "real medicine, not fake medicine." I pointed out the other products on the shelf with "homeopathic" to ensure him we were getting the real deal. Also, symptoms ended one hour after use -- hurray for modern medicine!
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Yaay!
written by Thunderhead19, April 22, 2012
Excellent Carrie. Just excellent.
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written by Brittany1, April 27, 2012
You have done a great job.I am sure that it's really a serious problem and can be taken just like something simple.If we talk about scamming how can this giant company allows such things?They not just loose their money, but now have an unpleasant spot on their reputation.I agree that true homeopathy never contains active ingredients,and it's awful that such a giant medical company makes such mistakes.And I am sure that people who were scammed also should return thir money also,it's a serious case and if everybody will keep silence then we can only guess home many people more will become the victims of scam.
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