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Well, wow! Happy, happy homeopathy awareness week!
On April 9, 2019 over 150 homeopathic supporters, made up of mothers, fathers, and other homeopathic supporters descended upon Capitol Hill in Washington DC with a collective voice demanding that access to homeopathy be championed by congress and senate. That people have the rights and freedoms to choose their healthcare tools, that people have a right to affordable healthcare, to medicines that are non-toxic, inherently safe and effective. That homeopathy has a strong history in the US and a strong future.
Americans for Homeopathy Choice, a group that seemed to spring out of nowhere, a year and a half ago, started with a handful of moms who felt their health, their future, and the future of their families was threatened by a guidance document released by the FDA. This document states that homeopathy, an inherently safe, 200 year old medicine that was integrated into FDA regulation from its inception, be forced to push its remedies through the New Drug Application process. At first this may sound like a reasonable request. Why not? We use homeopathy as medicine, should it not be regulated in the same way? I will answer this question shortly.
Paola Brown, mom, teacher, and homeopathic devotee, after reading the FDA’s draft document, reached out to other moms and asked them to join her in saving homeopathy. And soon they took the US by storm. With legal counsel extraordinaire, Jim Turner by their side, the journey truly began to build a strong voice for the homeopathic producer.
After months of planning, fundraising, and team building, Homeopathy on the Hill manifested. People from all over the United States made appointments with their representatives in Congress and Senate to talk with them about their own experiences with homeopathy, to present them with the facts that homeopathy is safe, and research tells us it works. All were invited to a congressional briefing where Paola, Jim, and Dr. Ron Whitmont, MD (immediate past president of the American Institute of Homeopathy – the oldest extant health association in the United States) all spoke to a full house.
So getting back to the question about what is wrong with the FDA draft guidance?
As I explained in my blog December of 2017, the cost of putting a remedy through the new drug application process would cost somewhere between 3 million to 100 million dollars. For all effects and purposes this would kill the homeopathic industry. But above and beyond this, homeopathic remedies are not new drugs. They are old medicines that have been recognized by the FDA from the moment Senator Copeland (a homeopathic physician himself) put forward the creation of the FDA, to protect people from inherently risky chemical-based drugs. The New Drug Application process was created in 1938, in order to weigh the risk vs benefit ratio of new chemical medications. After pharmaceutical drugs injured many people, the government decided to establish a process to ensure that the inherent risks are outweighed by the benefits. This does not apply to homeopathy. The risks of homeopathy are miniscule. At worst (if the skeptics are correct) we are talking about sugar water, at best (if the scientific literature is accurate) we have the capacity to heal a great many people with almost no risk of injury.
Paola, Ron and Jim spoke passionately to a rapt audience. Paola described her own experience with homeopathy. When suffering from a terribly painful condition; the doctors offered her an opioid addiction. That was when she turned to homeopathy, which enabled her to regain her quality of life and live pain free without pharmaceutical medications or other severely invasive procedures. Dr. Whitmont described how after serving in the Navy as a medical doctor and becoming an internist, he realized that the path to really addressing the source of illness and a path to cure, lay with homeopathy.
Jim Turner explained how the 30 year old guidance located in the FDA’s Compliance Policy Guide section 400.400 had done an excellent job of guaranteeing the purity, safety and proper manufacture of homeopathic remedies. The new draft guidance has no such accountability. The CPG 400.400 gives the FDA the power to enforce good manufacturing practices, ensuring that what they say is in the bottle is actually in the bottle. The draft guidance document says nothing about manufacturing.
That night we celebrated our success with the Red Carpet screening of Magic Pills: Promise or Placebo. We had a packed house, and one of the best audiences. It is incredibly gratifying to sit in the audience and watch people laugh, exclaim shock, disdain, even sometimes cry in all the right places. But on this night, instead of a few quiet chuckles the entire audience erupted in boisterous laughter, and oohs and aah’s were palpable, and the Q&A resounded with applause. This is why community screenings mean so much to me. We build community and shared vision when we come together for events such as this.
With Sue Myers and Paola (left); Paola, Alison and Audrey some of the amazing organizers (right)
The audience (left); with Tina Quirk president of NCH (right).
With Sue Myers and Paola (left); Paola, Alison and Audrey some of the amazing organizers (right). The audience (left); with Tina Quirk president of NCH (right).
And so with these final words I want to encourage everyone around the world to think about how you can help spread the word of homeopathy, help us to educate more people on what it is, what it is capable of and why it is so important to maintain our access and health freedoms. Perhaps Magic Pills can be an excellent tool for this and you would consider hosting a screening to grow awareness within your friends and community.
Warmly, with gratitude for all you do,