The Federal Trade Commission announced that it recently closed an investigation into whether marketers made improper claims about the efficacy of the Nerve Pain Away homeopathic topical spray. The FTC questioned claims by Nature's Pillows, Inc. and Plymouth Direct, Inc. that the product is an effective nerve pain reliever.
The FTC explained that homeopathy, which dates back to the late 1700s, is based on the theory -- not accepted by most modern medical experts -- that disease symptoms can be treated by minute does of substances that produce similar symptoms when provided in larger doses to healthy people. The FTC indicated that most homeopathic products are diluted to such an extent that they no longer contain detectable levels of the initial substance. The FTC said that Nerve Away Pain's purported active ingredients had been diluted 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times.
In its letter closing the investigation, the FTC said that it holds homeopathic drugs to the same standard as other products making similar claims. In other words, marketers must have "competent and reliable scientific evidence." The FTC noted, however, that a marketer of a homeopathic product may be able to effectively disclose that there is no scientific evidence that a product works and that its claims are based on theories of homepathy that are not accepted by most modern medical experts.
The FTC said that it decided to close its investigation into Nerve Pain Away after the marketers modified product claims and agreed to add the following clear and conspicuous disclosure to all of its advertising: "Nerve Pain Away's claims are based only on theories of homeopathy from the 1700's that are not accepted by modern medical experts. They are not based on scientific evidence."
For further information about the FTC's approach to homeopathic claims, check out the FTC's "Enforcement Policy Statement on Marketing Claims for Over-the-Counter (OTC) Homeopathic Drugs."