Last week, the FDA issued a Warning Letter to the company that manufactures an over-the-counter drug for colds called Zicam.  Zicam contains zinc gluconate in a 2X solution as well as many other ingredients including benzalkonium chloride, sodium hydroxide, hydroxy cellulose, glycerol, and a couple of other “solvents,” preservatives, and suspending agents.  The Warning Letter was issued after a number of consumers complained of problems with loss of smell from using the product.

The FDA’s action produced a story distributed by Associated Press (AP) that is full of fabrications and falsely called into question the safety of homeopathic remedies.  The National Center for Homeopathy, in concert with the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists (AAHP), has been vigorously responding to the AP story.  

Among the false claims and inferences in the AP story:

€¢ False Claim:  Homeopathic remedies are not regulated – they are treated like dietary supplements.  
Fact:  Homeopathic medications are regulated by the FDA and have been used safely in the United States since before the passage of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act in 1938. Homeopathic medicines have an extraordinary record of safety.

€¢ False Claim: FDA side effect reports suggest homeopathic remedies are a problem for consumers.
Fact:  The safety record of homeopathic remedies over the past 200 years is truly exemplary.  A recent detailed study by the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists documents this extraordinary record in detail (see for more information).  Conventional drugs used by allopathic medicine are far more troubling from a safety standpoint.

€¢ False Claim:  The National Institutes of Health’s alternative medicine center spent $3.8 million on homeopathic research from 2002 to 2007 but is now abandoning studies on homeopathic drugs.
Fact:  The National Center for Homeopathy received this assurance from the National Institutes of Health’s alternative medicine center on 6/23/09:  “NCCAM will continue to accept investigator-initiated research grant applications for homeopathy and will continue to consider for funding those that receive outstanding scores in peer review.”

€¢ False Claim:  “Very often, the only active ingredient is alcohol, and patients don’t know that, and they get a buzz on. The therapeutic effect is no greater or less than a martini.”  
Fact:  Approximately 98% of homeopathic remedies sold are in solid pellet or tablet form and contain ZERO alcohol.

€¢ False Claim: In 1938, Congress passed a law granting homeopathic remedies the same legal status as regular pharmaceuticals. The law’s principal author was Sen. Royal Copeland of New York, a trained homeopath. “He did it in such a sneaky way that nobody really noticed or paid attention,” says medical author Natalie Robins.    
Fact:  Senator Royal Copeland, a major presence in American medicine at the end of the 19th century, rose to national fame when he was elected into the U.S. Senate in 1922. His career was distinguished in many ways, but he is best known as architect of the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act of 1938, the success of which reflected his tireless effort over a period of five years. Copeland was trained as a homeopathic physician at the University of Michigan, at a time when homeopathy was a significant part of the U.S. healthcare system. There is considerable supposition that Congress supported inclusion of homeopathic remedies in the law in 1938 to regulate the practice of homeopathy.

€¢ False Claim:  “With arcane ingredients like “Nux vomica” and “Arsenicum album,” many homeopathic medicines sound like something brewed in a druid’s kettle.”
Fact:  Homeopathic remedies are named by their proper scientific designations (often in Latin), an accepted world wide standard for naming substances, rather than the misleading kinds of names attached to drugs by pharmaceutical companies. For example, “Nux Vomica” is the proper botanical Latin name for the tree used to make the remedy.

False Claim: There is no evidence of effectiveness.  
Fact:  There are literally hundreds of high quality basic science, pre-clinical and clinical studies published in respected journals like Pediatrics, Chest, Rheumatology, Lancet and others showing that homeopathy works (for more information, please visit the NCH website at,173) .  To claim otherwise is bad science and very irresponsible journalism.

How can supporters of homeopathy help?  

€¢ If you have seen this AP story in your local newspaper – please write a letter to the editor in support of homeopathy and ask other supporters of homeopathy in your circle of friends to do likewise.  Refer to the bullet points above to craft your letter if that is helpful.  Or better yet – send an email to the AP writer Jeff Donn.  He can be reached at

€¢ Also – encourage your friends and neighbors to become members of NCH.  We are a small organization with a very BIG mission.  Membership growth is crucial if NCH and homeopathy are to survive. We cannot exist without our members and their ongoing support and donations.

And as always – feel free to contact the National Center for Homeopathy ( if you see other news stories containing inaccuracies about homeopathy.  Our mission at the NCH is to defend and protect this wonderful system of medicine.  We take that job very seriously.

Thank you!

Nancy Gahles
National Center for Homeopathy