Welcome to my new blog!
These are days when truth often takes a terrible beating at the hands of perception so on occasion, let us seek some degree of redress. It will be my intention to live up to a self-imposed dictum, “Truth in Healing and in Health.” Over the next few months I hope to address a number of topics from this perspective, including: vaccinations, autism, and the politics of health care. I will also be critiquing articles such as The Itch (The New Yorker) as well as introducing innovative uses of homeopathy as in marital therapy. In the minute category of homeopathic humor you may also expect to see unusual features such as “A Case of the Blues,” and the proving of some “unsual” remedies such as Bovinus Foetor.
But for today, let’s talk briefly about the role of the FDA in relation to homeopathic remedies. By way of beginning, here is a multiple choice question: What is the official status of a homeopathic remedy? A) a drug; B) a nutritional supplement; C) a placebo; D) an herb.
Give up? Ok, be honest, how many of you picked A) a drug? Yes, this is the correct answer. As opposed to general perception, homeopathic remedies have more legal status than either nutritional supplements, placebos, or herbs. If you got it wrong no need to feel bad. Hardly anyone at the FDA can answer this question correctly either. Or, if any official at the FDA does know it, he or she is not likely to admit the fact. Here is how it works: in 1938 the FDA was a good deal smarter than it is today. In this year the agency grandfathered homeopathic remedies included in the HPUS into its drug category. Moreover, the FDA said something even more surprising by today’s standards: It averred that an as yet, non-existent remedy would be declared kosher prospectively, just so long as it went through the rigors of HPUS’s proving rotocols! Even more significant is the fact that the FDA at that time was able to grasp a philosophical notion: genuine principles are not true here and there, or now and then. They are ALWAYS true. Of course, there is one more quirky feature of the drug that is a homeopathic remedy. Although the principle that Like Treats Like is indelible, in other words, always true, this also means that a homeopathic remedy is a drug ONLY when it has been prescribed in accordance with the Law of Similars. So Arsenicum Alb is a drug when I prescribe it for the fastidious, anxious, perfectionist patient in my office. But it is NOT a drug in the foolish event that I should choose to self-administer Ars (being myself, somewhere in the vicinity of Bufo, Anhalonium or Pulsatilla).
Is there a possibility that the FDA at some point will carry out its threat to subject homeopathic remedies to an inquisitorial process? Not likely, as this would only call attention to the decision the agency made in 1938 and which would have to be overturned. Doing so would also place strictures on the freedom of physicians to titrate, manipulate the strength of their own pharmaceutical prescriptions.
Now for some great mysteries. What is the status of over-counter-homeopathic remedies? I have no idea. On the one hand, they are empty products for which one must nevertheless make attach a single clinical indication. “Empty” though they are, you will not see Medorrhinum or Tuberculinum on any pharmacy shelf even in a low potency because here, the FDA chooses to assert that the few impossible to discern molecules of these nosodes sufficiently determine the “controlled substance” status of these “dangerous” remedies. Patent laws suggest that natural substances are not patentable, either singly or in combination. So, what Agency official has permitted this to take place, or determined how many remedies may effectively be combined into a single, commodifiable “remedy?” (Assuming that we are sensitive only to a single ingredient, why not combine ALL remedies into one giant saltlick that any sick individual can go and lick from…)
I am sure there are perfectly reasonable answers to these and many other questions. But the Land of Oz where they may be heard does not appear on my GPS, and someone took my ruby slippers to the local Goodwill.