FORTY-TWO physicians, pharmacologists, scientists, consumer advocates, and other prominent critics of quackery have asked the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to crack down on the marketing of homeopathic products.
In their petition filed August 29, the group formally asks the FDA to require all over-the-counter (OTC) homeopathic drugs to meet the same standards of safety and effectiveness as other OTC drugs. In the meantime, it asks the agency to issue a public warning that, although it permits the sale of these products, it does not recognize any of them as effective.
"State and federal laws ban the sale of medicines that have not been proven safe and effective for their intended purposes," says Stephen Barrett, MD, a retired psychiatrist, consumer advocate, and spokesman for the group. "These laws have not been applied to homeopathic remedies. It's time they were.
"Public fascination with 'alternative medicine' has boosted homeopathy from a