Audet & Partners, LLP reports that a new class action lawsuit recently brought in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida challenges claims made by Whole Foods Market, Inc. regarding products including Cough Ease for Kids, Cough Ease, Flu Ease and Arnica Montana 30C. Each of these claims are based on the assertion that the company extracted a premium for these products from potentially hundreds of thousands of consumers by claiming that the products effectively treat the flu, as well as coughing and other symptoms in children as well as adults.
Instead, claim the class action plaintiffs, these products are, at worst, toxic, and, at best, include active ingredients in such watered-down concentrations so as to be depleted of any biological effect on the human body. As such, the class action complaint alleges that “homeopathic products” distributed by Whole Foods are worthless, and consumers should be entitled to compensation based on the company’s false advertising and other theories.
A central issue implicated by the Whole Foods homeopathic product class action is the fact that “homeopathic products” are not subject to review and/or approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The plaintiffs argue that Whole Food misled consumers by asserting medicinal qualities of the products in question, while concealing the fact that such products are immune from FDA evaluation and regulation.
As a consumer movement towards more organic, and less synthetic products, has gained momentum, an increasing number of class action lawsuits have been brought against companies claiming that their organic products have homeopathic or medicinal qualities. Companies may he held responsible for significant monetary damages in court if found to have deceived consumers about the asserted positive benefits of their products.
Homeopathy isn’t medicine, because placebos aren’t medicine. It’s an elaborate placebo system where sugar pills are claimed to have medicinal effects. Regulators turn a blind eye and what’s on the shelf is unequivocally unethical from a pharmacy perspective – yet you can find it on the shelves of many pharmacies. It’s just a matter of time before an ambitious litigator takes a pharmacy chain to court for putting homeopathy alongside real medicine in pharmacies. Note the description of the harm:
“Whole Foods is not only taking advantage of consumers’ desire for natural medicine, but also deceiving consumers into believing that Whole Foods’ products are effective, regulated drugs that are held to the same standards as true medical drugs and nonhomeopathic OTC drugs,” the complaint states.
The plaintiffs claim Whole Foods violated the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, which prohibits unfair methods of competition, unconscionable acts or practices and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in conduct of any trade or commerce.
Pharmacies that sell homeopathy shouldn’t be surprised when they’re also targeted for selling “medicine” without any medicine in it.