Alternative remedies like homeopathic treatments have become popular in recent years and now make up a $3 billion industry. But the Food and Drug Administration will begin scrutinizing products that could be dangerous to vulnerable populations.
Many homeopathic remedies are derived from plants and claim to treat everything from the common cold to serious diseases. But the FDA fears that these products can “bring little to no benefit in combating serious ailments, or worse — may cause significant and even irreparable harm because the products are poorly manufactured, or contain active ingredients that aren’t adequately tested or disclosed to patients,” according to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.
In 1988, the FDA allowed for drugs that are labeled “homeopathic” to be marketed and sold without the agency’s approval, according to USA Today.
But recent issues concerning products for babies, including popular teething tablets, have led the agency to issue warnings. As a result, alternative treatments targeted at young children and those suffering from cancer, heart disease, and other serious ailments will be under heavier scrutiny by the agency.
Mark Land, the president of the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists, is concerned that this move by the FDA will affect “the ‘vast majority’ of homeopathic remedies available in the United States, according to NPR, but Gottlieb feels it is important to “protect the public from products that may not deliver any benefit and have the potential to cause harm.”
The new guidelines will be subject to a 90-day public comment period before becoming final.