Walmart is being sued for medical fraud for selling homeopathic products alongside FDA-approved medications.
The lawsuit, filed by the Center for Inquiry in Washington, DC, in late May, accuses America’s biggest retailer of misleading customers into believing homeopathy is regulated and tested by the same standards of accepted medicine.
It comes almost a year after the nonprofit filed an identical suit against CVS, which is still ongoing.
Nicholas Little, the center’s legal director, says they are not demanding that homeopathy medicines are pulled completely, rather that they are labeled more clearly and displayed separately from FDA-approved drugs.
The lawsuit, filed by the Center for Inquiry, accuses America’s biggest retailer of misleading customers into believing homeopathy is regulated and tested by the same standards of accepted medicine
He is also calling on both Walmart and CVS to display the Federal Trade Commission’s warning on homeopathy – that it is not medically proven, and is not based on recognized science.
Walmart has yet to respond to DailyMail.com’s request for a comment, but has said in previous comments that they do clearly label their own-brand homeopathy products.
Little contests that their complaint is not confined to own-brand products – and that small print is not enough.
‘If your child is suffering from a soar throat or pink eye and all you want is to grab something and get home and make them feel better,’ Little told DailyMail.com.
‘You get to the aisle with a sign that says ‘Cold and Cough’, and underneath there’s two products next to each other. You’re not responsible for having to turn the package around to read everything on the back of it.
‘The store is making a firm statement that products under this sign treat colds and coughs. You can’t make that claim about homeopathy.’
Americans spend $3 billion a year on homeopathic products, which are herbal and often sugar-coated.
Many say the products do work for them, even if the effect is a placebo.
Little insists, begrudgingly, that he accepts that point of view (though adds ‘If they put a bottle of Jack Daniels on the shelves and said it cures muscle pain, even if there’s a placebo effect, that’s not appropriate’).
But his feelings on placebo aside, he says the point of clearer signage is to make it easier for people who are not seeking homeopathic medicines to decipher.
‘It doesn’t alter your responsibility to tell the truth,’ Little said.