Search for “homeopathy” on the Internet, and one quickly discovers that this particular form of “alternative medicine,” does not have the greatest
reputation. Wikipedia, not always an unimpeachable source, but usually OK for our purposes, has a less than stellar description of the practice:
Homeopathy is a pseudoscience, which is a belief that is incorrectly presented as scientific, but is ineffective for treating any condition. . . .[H]omeopathic preparations . . . involve repeatedly diluting a chosen substance . . . well past the point where no molecules of the original substance remain. . . . Homeopathy is not a plausible system of treatment, as its axioms about how drugs, illness, the human body, liquids and solutions operate are contradicted by a wide range of discoveries across biology, psychology, physics and chemistry made in the two centuries since its invention. . . . The continued practice of homeopathy, despite a lack of evidence of efficacy, has led to it being characterized within the scientific and medical communities as nonsense, quackery, and a sham.
So why talk about homeopathy here? Because unlike many other controversial alternatives to modern medicine, homeopathic remedies are still around,
courtesy of Congress when it enacted the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act. In the Act, Congress defined a “drug” so as to include “articles recognized in the . . . official Homœopathic Pharmacopœia of the United States.” 21 U.S.C. §321(g)(1); see 21 U.S.C. § 351(b) (“when a drug “is labeled and offered for sale as a homeopathic drug, . . . it shall be subject to the provisions of the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the United States”); 21 U.S.C. §360eee(13) (defining “product” as including “homeopathic drugs marketed in accordance with applicable guidance under this Act”). The FDA has issued standards for the labeling of homeopathic products authorized by the statute. See generally Compliance Policy Guide §400.400 (setting forth homeopathic labeling requirements).