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Homeopathic Company Gets Paltry Fine

Doubtful News reports that Heel, Inc., a company that makes homeopathic “remedies” with outlandish and unsupported claims of their effectiveness, has agreed to pay a measly $1 million fine for exaggerated and false claims about its products.

Homeopathic treatment manufacturer Heel Inc. agreed Wednesday to dial down its health claims tied to its over-the-counter remedies and pay a $1 million class settlement to resolve accusations that it exaggerated the products’ effectiveness to consumers.

Heel is a German company but it has offices in the United States and markets its products here. It was founded as Biological Homeopathic Industries and has marketed hundreds of products. They make more than $250 million a year, so the $1 million fine doesn’t even qualify as a slap on the wrist.

We need a lot more of this. Watch TV for a few hours and you are bombarded with commercials for products making all sorts of vague claims about how they’ll improve your health. The entire “male enhancement” industry is a sham and new companies with new products pop up every day. Any product making a health claim should have to get FDA approval and to have valid scientific studies that show the product works. Absent that, it’s nothing less than fraud.

Comments

  1. iknklast says

    But when the general public hears $1 million dollars, they’ll think they’ve gotten a huge fine. And they may not pay all of that. When I worked for Department of Environmental Quality, I discovered that the so-called huge fines (that are usually less than petty cash) were nearly always negotiated down to a lesser fine, much of which was paid by “education” – they sent their CEOs or other execs to some conference in some tropical paradise, and counted it as “education”. No incentive to quit doing what you’re doing.

  2. unbound says

    We need a lot more of this even with basic grocery foods. As an example, Cheerios’ claim of lowering cholesterol is dubious at best (they use a law that allows them to claim health benefits as long as they have just one expert claiming the benefit) and only got slapped down when they were too specific about the magic powers of the cereal.

    The reality is that any heavily processed food claiming any health benefits is false advertising. But the large ag businesses have too much influence to be slapped down.

  3. Doug Little says

    If the company believed their own bullshit then a smaller fine should actually devastate them more…. Well someone had to say it.

    I hope they have to pull all the current stock of the shelves that has the offending claims written on it, that should cost them more than a million.

  4. Reginald Selkirk says

    Modusoperandi has already taken the best joke, so I’ll just movel along quietly.

  5. Trebuchet says

    Sorry to mention it yet again, Ed, but we are absolutely bombarded with ads for fake products right here on FTB. Fake testosterone supplements (with photoshopped pictures of women with ridiculously huge butts or boobs), free energy scams (from “power4patriots”!), weight loss scams, and on and on. I know it’s tough for you to fix but it’s pretty annoying.

  6. says

    Reginald Selkirk:

    And that is WHY Modusoperandi has a lock on the “Netty’s”. People like you-good, decent, hard working, GODfearing (well, maybe not so much that) americans (cue swelling “Halls of Montezuma” on soundtrack) can never, Ever, STOP trying!

    Did Socrates in 399 B.C. play him some Police, “Can’t Stand Losing You.” on his I-κέλυφος, and then suck down “shoot” that hemlockbomb?

    Did Cleopatra say, on 8/12/30BC, “Bite my milky white, calve shaped*, imperial breast, Asphole!”?

    Did the 47 Ronin sing, on the night of the 14th day of the 12th month of the 15th year of Genroku (1703-01-30 Gregorian)” 47 Ronin out here on your lawn, 47 Ronin out here, open one’s belly, smell his steaming entrails, 46 Ronin out here on your lawn!”?

    Did ‘Dolf Hitler tell his retainers, on 4/30/1945 that it was time to “Piss on the dogs, put one in my brainpan and set me on fire!”?

    Okay, maybe those are bad examples, but you know what I mean. Never give up. Be the Commenterminator, dude.

    Actually, my suggestion was that if the Homeopafraudsters were slapped on the wrist that this:

    http://www.vitaminmom.com/arnica-pc-homeopathic-tablet-100-tablets

    would help with the pain and minor swelling.

    * Like a Mexican drugmule’s calves only not quite as firm.

  7. says

    Trebuchet:

    Maybe Ed should apply the “Principal of Similars” and start running a bunch of posts that supportive of homeopathy. Then maybe all of the ads will be for online shareware or free downloads that will allow one to eliminate those hucksterads from one’s view?

  8. dcsohl says

    A fine is simply a price of doing business. If the fine is smaller than the profit the company realized from its practices, then it is no disincentive do doing those practices; it’s merely an incentive to be a bit sneakier about them.

    Put C-level types in jail, and then you’ll see some real incentives for change.

  9. JustaTech says

    I’m surprised that they got fined at all given that homeopathic stuff is generally exempted from FDA oversight. (Oh, now I see that it’s a class-action lawsuit.) Still, given the very deep pockets involved, getting any changes in the law will be quite challanging. Though it is quite fun to imagine the identity testing of homeopathic remidies. “You say this has belladona in it, but our tests show that it’s nothing but water.” “Well, yes, that is what 30C means.” “Fail!”

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