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Journal of No. 118


June 17th, 2009

This post has not been evaluated by the FDA @ 08:52 am

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Homeopathy qua homeopathy says to me 'ingredients diluted to the point of absence.' Such preparations are of course impotent and harmless (except inasmuch as eschewing standard medical treatments can make things worse). However, in the unending war of snake-oil salesmen against standard medical treatments, homeopathy as a term has broadened somewhat into other kinds of alternative medicines, including some that contain ingredients that are actually there.
In 1994, with the aid of Sen. Orrin Hatch, the US passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, which allowed "natural supplements to be marketed without any proof of their purity, safety or efficacy. Producers of these supplements are largely exempt from regulation by the Food and Drug Administration, which can take action against them only if they make claims about their products curing or alleviating disease — or if, say, their customers start dropping dead."
Or, if they start losing their sense of smell. Zicam protests its innocence, but is voluntarily recalling the affected products, now that the FDA has started to step in. (In 2006, Zicam also protested its innocence as it settled out of court with 340 anosmic users for $12 million.)
 
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From:ladyeuthanasia
Date:June 17th, 2009 06:25 pm (UTC)
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I wish they'd freaking start doing something about this -- not just because of the snake oil, but there are some absolutely amazing herbal remedies out there that should have the validation. In France, they sell them alongside the medicine and they WORK. I have a couple here in the States that I swear by.

In other countries, like France and Germany, St. John's Wort is considered a powerful anti-anxiety and anti-depressant. It's more expensive there than here. And, get this, our FDA is far more lax than theirs when it comes to approving drugs. Unlike our government, they actually examine these things.



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From:essentialsaltes
Date:June 17th, 2009 06:53 pm (UTC)
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With all due respect to what works for you, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine was founded in 1991 to research all kinds of alternative medicines. So far, they've spent $800 million and not really found a damn thing.

I'm certainly not saying it's impossible. After all, aspirin got its start as willowbark. And St. John's Wort does seem to have some beneficial effects, though there are a lot of conflicting studies.

What cheeses me off is that the FDA has no authority over 'natural' remedies and homeopathy. Does it work? Is it safe? Who knows? Without the kinds of research the FDA requires to approve drugs, we don't really know, and there's no incentive for the manufacturers to carry out authoritative & unbiased studies of their products. Just slap some suitably indefinite verbiage on your bottle and start selling it.

For actual drugs, the FDA used to be the envy of the world for safety (for instance, thalidomide was not approved by the FDA, although it had been in Europe). Since then, other countries modeled their agencies after the awesome good-old-days FDA, while the FDA has weakened in the meantime, probably due to the humongous pressures from the drug industry. All those pesky FDA tests cut into the time a company can sell a product before they lose their patent and it goes generic.
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From:ladyeuthanasia
Date:June 17th, 2009 08:56 pm (UTC)
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I've heard that before about the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, but my experience runs so completely and utterly counter to their results that I've got to wonder if their testing methods are totally full of beans. And I don't mean taking "EZ PMS" from the Whole Foods vitamin section and getting a cramp break. I mean full-fledged relief from serious conditions via both short- and long-term herbal treatments -- here and in France. I'm happy to discuss it in person, as I'd rather not fan my medical experiences all over Teh Googles. It's extensive. And this is from me, who HATES "homeopathic" doctors and all of that. When friends recommend them, I always choose the traditional Western medicine doctor over them, as they are mostly quacks.


Edited at 2009-06-17 08:57 pm (UTC)

Journal of No. 118