The nonprofit organization Center for Inquiry (CFI) is suing Boiron, one of the biggest manufacturers of homeopathic products. In a lawsuit invoking the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act, CFI argues that Boiron sells scores of materially identical products composed of sugar pills and powders while claiming that the products treat or cure a range of conditions.
Headquartered in Messimy, France, Boiron sells products to treat conditions ranging from flu to insomnia. Based on the concept of “like cures like,” homeopathy uses highly-diluted amounts of substances to bring about a therapeutic effect. Homeopathy is also based on the principle that the more diluted a substance is, the more potent it tends to be.
There are currently no FDA-approved homeopathic products.
CFI alleges that Boiron profits by deceiving consumers. “Boiron knows its products are worthless junk, so they do everything they can to obscure the truth in order to offload their snake oil upon the unwitting, the ill-informed, and the vulnerable,” said CFI vice president and legal counsel Nick Little, in a press release.
“Boiron sells little pills of sugar with grandiose claims. It’s hard to believe anyone would try to pass off such junk as a surefire way to treat painful skin problems, heal mental health issues, and even to counteract menopause,” said CFI Staff Attorney Aaron D. Green, in a press release. “But Boiron has been doing just that by tricking consumers into risking their health and throwing away their money on its fancy faux ‘medicines.’ It’s time for Boiron and all homeopathy hucksters to be held accountable.”
Boiron did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
CFI singled out Boiron’s selling of Saccharum Officinale, table sugar, as a treatment for nervous agitation in children after overindulgence.
CFI also argued that independent labs have concluded that four Boiron products had no traces of their purported active ingredients.
Earlier this year, CFI announced that it was suing Walmart and CVS for fraud over their sales of homeopathic products.
CFI was founded in 1991 by the author Paul Kurtz. In 2016, it merged with the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.
Homeopathic treatments remain popular in Boiron’s native France. The French government announced in 2019 that it would cut funding for homeopathic medicines.