A couple of weeks ago, I reported on Zicam and how it was NOT a homeopathic drug but claimed to be one so as to gain the marketing boost that the label unfortunately provides as well as to fall under a special class in the FDA wherein the "drug" receives less scrutiny. This lack of scrutiny allowed this dangerous substance that has caused 900 people to lose their sense of smell to reach market.
Today, I found this Bloomberg article reporting that the FDA admits the homeopathy label let this product slip by:
Zicam’s homeopathic label allowed it to be marketed for a decade without a review for safety or effectiveness by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
The article then goes on to say:
Homeopathic products -- over-the-counter remedies that use plant, mineral or animal derivatives -- don’t need marketing clearance from the FDA under U.S. rules.
And therein, lies the problem. Bloomberg has it completely WRONG.
Homeopathic does not mean naturopathic. AT ALL. Homeopathic means substance in extreme dillution – so extreme that there is no chance of even one molecule being present. Homeopathy has NO ACTIVE INGREDIENTS. I apologize for shouting, but apparently Bloomberg and dozens of other news outlets still don't know what homeopathy is, and perpetuate the myth that homeopathy is synonymous with the less-ludicrous but potentially-as-dangerous naturopathy.
Zicam said the product was homeopathic, but it was not. The FDA didn't bother to check (could it be that they don't know what homeopathy is either?), Zicam made a lot of money, 900 people can no longer smell, and Randi's article from SIX YEARS AGO was ignored.
I decided to consult a dictionary for the meanings of "homeopathic" and "naturopathic," but even there, I was stymied. From reference.com:
the method of treating disease by drugs, given in minute doses, that would produce in a healthy person symptoms similar to those of the disease
This is factual, with the exception that they miss the main point which is that "minute" means "non-existent."
I have explained what homeopathy is to friends and family, and they flat out don't believe me. They media back up their incorrect conclusions, and they write me off as someone with an axe to grind against alt-med. But really, all the evidence you need is on the box. A 30C or 100X or whatever preparation of any homeopathic remedy CONTAINS NO ACTIVE INGREDIENT.
A definitive explanation of homeopathy can be found on Quackwatch. And here's a single sentence that should be enough to warn people away from homeopathy:
A 30X dilution means that the original substance has been diluted 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times. Assuming that a cubic centimeter of water contains 15 drops, this number is greater than the number of drops of water that would fill a container more than 50 times the size of the Earth.
So, to summarize the two points of this article. 1) Homeopathy has no ingredients, the public doesnt know this, and the FDA doesn't scrutinize them. And 2) Zicam lied about the fact that their product contained active conentrations, and the FDA didn't even bother to read the ingredients label.