In the US, the Food and Drug Administration has detailed requirements for the marketing of homeopathic materials. But just this year, that agency took comments on whether it should revisit its current regulatory scheme. Now, another regulatory agency is taking a look at whether it’s being too lenient on homeopaths.
Next Monday, the Federal Trade Commission will examine how homeopathic “remedies” are marketed. (We’ll use “remedies” to refer to the materials at issue here; this should not be taken to imply they can effectively remedy anything.) The hearings, which will be open to the public, are motivated by the changing homeopathy market. Rather than being made by individual practitioners, homeopathic remedies are now mass-produced and have become a multibillion-dollar business in the US.
The hearings will feature a discussion of the state of the market, as well as a look at the legal issues involved. But the most interesting moments are likely to come in the middle section, a panel discussion on the “Scientific Support for Homeopathic Advertising Claims.” While the panel includes some people who will argue in favor of homeopathy, others on it appear well versed in evidence-based medicine and are likely to demand some evidence that water can cure a variety of ailments, depending on the context.