A lawsuit was filed late last month in Washington D.C. by the Center for Inquiry (CFI) against Walmart for medical fraud, citing “a continuing pattern of fraudulent, deceptive, and otherwise improper marketing practices …regarding the marketing and sale of homeopathic products.” The lawsuit argues that the Bentonville, AR- based retailer “places homeopathic products alongside science-based, tested medicine” and that this strategic placement “makes false and misleading claims regarding the effectiveness of those products.” CFI, a non-profit whose primary mission is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values, brought a similar suit against CVS in 2018.
According to Forbes, Nick Little, CFI’s vice president and general counsel stated, “Walmart sells homeopathics right alongside real medicines, in the same sections in its stores, under the same signs.”Little continued, “It’s an incredible betrayal of customers’ trust and an abuse of Walmart’s titanic retail power.”
In response to the lawsuit, a spokeperson for Walmart commented, “We want to be the most trusted retailer, and we look to our suppliers to provide products that meet all applicable laws, including labeling laws,” the spokesperson said. “Our Equate private label homeopathic products are designed to include information directly stating that the claims are not based on accepted medical evidence and have not been evaluated by the FDA.”
CFI is claiming that the intent of the lawsuit is not to remove homeopathic products from the retailer’s shelves, but instead wants to ensure that the products are labeled in the proper fashion so as not to confuse consumers into thinking that they are science- based.
Homepathy is a medical philosophy and practice based on the idea that the body has the ability to heal itself. Treatments often come in the form of sugar pellets, ointments, gels, drops, creams and tablets that are derived from plants, minerals, or animals with the belief that natural substances stimulate natural healing. It also supports the notion that the lower the dose of the medication, the greater its effectiveness with many homeopathic products being so diluted that no molecules of the original substance remain.