The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recalled homeopathic remedies made by a company called Terra-Medica because they may contain actual medicine—possibly penicillin or derivatives of the antibiotic.
Terra-Medica creates a range of homeopathic capsules, suppositories and ointments under clinical-sounding brand names including Pleo-Fort, Pleo-Quent and Pleo-EX. The FDA has found that 56 lots of the drugs may contain penicillin or derivatives of penicillin, which may have been produced during fermentation. This is a problem, because Terra-Medica says that its products don’t contain antibiotics. The Pleo Sanum range of products, for example, “can address acute and chronic inflammations and infections without the use of traditional antibiotics.” Homeopathic remedies are generally highly diluted substances (in fact, the more a substance is diluted, the more effective homeopaths deem it to be) that practitioners claim can cause the body to heal itself. A 2010 House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report found these remedies to perform no better than placebos.
Homeopathic medicines are regulated by the FDA in the same way that over-the-counter, nonprescription drugs are in terms of purity and packaging, but they aren’t subjected to the same level of testing of effectiveness before they can be sold.
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