US Food and Drug Administration Recognizes Consumers Use Homeopathic Drugs

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes that consumers may use various types of unapproved drugs, such as homeopathic drug products, to treat or relieve different diseases and conditions.

These products are often marketed as natural alternatives to approved prescription and nonprescription products and are widely available in the marketplace. Homeopathic products, however, are marketed without FDA review and may not meet modern standards for safety, effectiveness, quality and labeling. FDA uses a risk-based approach to monitor these products and to evaluate reports of adverse effects. 

As the homeopathy industry continues to grow at a rapid pace, we want to clarify for both consumers and industry how officials assess the potential safety risks of these products. That’s why in 2017, the FDA issued a draft guidance discussing our, risk-based enforcement approach to drug products labeled as homeopathic. Today, officials are taking two new steps toward clarifying this approach.

First, officials have revised the 2017 draft guidance to provide further information around our approach and are asking for public input on the revised draft. The draft guidance details a risk-based enforcement policy prioritizing certain categories of homeopathic products that could pose a higher risk to public health, including products with particular ingredients and routes of administration, products for vulnerable populations, and products with significant quality issues.

Officials encourage the public to review this revised draft guidance and comment before it is finalized. We will consider feedback gathered through this new public comment period, the more than 4,500 comments interested stakeholders submitted on the original 2017 draft guidance, and information gleaned from a 2015 public hearing on the current use of homeopathic drug products. When finalized, this guidance will help provide transparency regarding the categories of homeopathic drug products that Officials intend to prioritize under our risk-based enforcement approach. 

Second, the agency is withdrawing the Compliance Policy Guide (CPG) 400.400, entitled “Conditions Under Which Homeopathic Drugs May be Marketed.

Risk is an important driver of the FDA’s regulatory and enforcement actions for all drug products, including homeopathic drug products. Since the issuance of CPG 400.400 in 1988, the FDA has encountered multiple situations in which homeopathic drug products posed a significant risk to patients, even though the products, as labeled, appeared to meet the conditions described in CPG 400.400. However, CPG 400.400 is inconsistent with our risk-based approach to regulatory and enforcement action generally and therefore does not reflect our current thinking. Therefore, it is appropriate to withdraw CPG 400.400 at this time.

Today’s efforts are a continuation of the FDA’s long-standing work to protect Americans from potentially harmful products that are labeled as homeopathic. For example, the FDA has issued warning letters to companies who produce homeopathic drug products for significant violations of current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) regulations and various other violations.

So far in 2019, officials have issued more than 10 warning letters to companies for violations concerning homeopathic products. Recently, the agency issued warning letters to  Kadesh Inc.U.S. Continental Marketing, Inc.,  Fill It Pack It Inc. and Bershtel Enterprises LLC dba WePackItAll, which had jointly manufactured and packaged eye drops produced in non-sterile conditions which could result in serious eye infections.

These warning letters should alert all companies that homeopathic drug products must be manufactured and labeled in accordance with the requirements of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and agency regulations.

For more information, please visit: FDA Statement.

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