October 3, 2020

The Center for Inquiry urged the D.C. Court of Appeals to reject Walmart’s attempt to sidestep a consumer-protection lawsuit over the mega-retailer’s deceptive sale and marketing of homeopathic medicine.

CFI, an organization that advocates for reason and science on behalf of consumers, sued Walmart in 2019 under the District’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act for selling homeopathic remedies alongside real, evidence-based medicines. Walmart makes no distinction between genuine, scientifically-verified products and homeopathics, which are well understood to be scientifically baseless and medically useless. Walmart has so far avoided responsibility for the allegations that it deceives consumers, relying on legal technicalities rather than protecting its customers’ rights.

“In the middle of an out-of-control pandemic, when Americans are flooded with misinformation about quack cures and conspiracy theories, the world’s largest retailer is abusing the trust of its customers by selling fake medicine right alongside the real thing, on the same shelves and under the same signs that read ‘cold and flu relief,’” said Nicholas Little, CFI Vice President and Legal Counsel.

“Walmart knows homeopathy doesn’t work,” said Little. “The confusion it causes consumers is intentional. The potential for harm is obvious. And we will be happy to make that very clear when this case finally goes to trial.”

Home to Skeptical InquirerQuackwatch, and the Society for Science-Based Medicine, CFI has been on the front lines in the battle against medical pseudoscience for more than forty years. In 2015, CFI was invited by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to provide expert testimony on the harm of homeopathy. As a result of CFI’s efforts, the FTC declared in 2016 that consumers must be told of the lack of scientific evidence for homeopathy’s claims and its rejection by medical experts. In 2018, the FDA also announced a new “risk-based” policy of regulatory action against homeopathic products.

CFI’s brief to the D.C. Court of Appeals can be read here.


For Immediate Release: September 11, 2020
Contact: Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director – (207) 358-9785

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