The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), an independent agency of the US government that is concerned with consumer protection has ordered that all homeopathic treatment be labelled with its scientifically proven efficacy. In its order, the FTC writes that the “objective product claims be truthful and substantiated”, meaning homeopathic OTC (over-the-counter drugs) be subjected to “competent and reliable scientific evidence”, defined as “tests, analyses, research, or studies” conducted by qualified professionals to “yield accurate and reliable results.” In simpler terms, it means that if homeopathic remedies are to be labelled as treating certain conditions, scientific evidence must be provided.
For homeopathic drugs, however, this won’t be possible because the alternative medicine has been almost entirely dismissed by the scientific community.
“Homeopathy, which dates back to the late-eighteenth century, is based on the view that disease symptoms can be treated by minute doses of substances that produce similar symptoms when provided in larger doses to healthy people. Many homeopathic products are diluted to such an extent that they no longer contain detectable levels of the initial substance. In general, homeopathic product claims are not based on modern scientific methods and are not accepted by modern medical experts,” said the same notice.
Earlier this year, a renowned scientist declared the alternative medicine as a “therapeutic dead-end” and that “there was no reliable evidence from research in humans that homeopathy was effective for treating the range of health conditions considered”. Health policy expert Timothy Caulfield even warned that” believing in homeopathy is like believing in magic”.
India has 2.46 lakh registered homeopathic practitioners in India alone as of 2010, the largest in the world as well as the largest number of colleges in homeopathic education. ASSOCHAM reports that the Indian homeopathy market will grow at the rate of 30% annually reaching the size of Rs 4,600 crore. The global growth rate is 25 %.
This doesn’t mean that the Rs 26,000 crore industry will shut down. Marketers can still sell products without providing empirical evidence. “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, a science-based advocacy and education group told the Vox.