FDA Sez Homeopathic HCG Supps are Illegal

FDA Sez Homeopathic HCG Supps are Illegal

And – according to USA Today, “fraudulent,” too.

A popular type of weight-loss products, heavily promoted on the Internet, is fraudulent and illegal, Food and Drug Administration officials say.

HCG weight-loss products that promise dramatic results and claim to be homeopathic are sold as drops, pellets and sprays on the Web, in drugstores and at General Nutrition Centers. They are supposed to be used in combination with a very low-calorie diet of 500 calories a day.

…There is no evidence the oral over-the-counter products are effective for weight loss, says Elizabeth Miller, FDA’s leader for the Internet and health fraud team. While they may not be dangerous, they’re at least “economic fraud,” she says.

Because the products do not seem to be “a serious direct health hazard or a serious indirect health hazard,” they have been a lower priority for FDA action than other products. Still, Miller says, “they could be subject to enforcement at any time.”

…Even experts in the supplement industry say the products aren’t legal and don’t work. Andrew Shao of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, an industry group, says HCG is “not considered a legal dietary ingredient and therefore cannot be sold as a dietary supplement. I am not aware of any scientific evidence that supports its use when taken orally.”

Who knew? 😀

Of course, it’s all a bit of a semantic game, isn’t it? A true “homeopathic HCG” would be virtually guaranteed to have no detectable HCG in it whatsoever. Thus, it’s amusing that the FDA would make a distinction between homeopathic HCG and other “drugs” in the the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia, since – from a chemical and pharmacological point of view, they’re indistinguishable from one another.

Author: elissa

Elissa is a former research associate with the University of California at Davis, and the author/co-author of over a dozen articles published in scientific journals. Currently a freelance writer and researcher, Elissa brings her multidisciplinary education and training to her writing on nutrition and supplements.

5 Comments

  1. That is really interesting to read, I just did alot of research on HCG and it is amazing the things I have found out.

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  2. Thanks for your comment Natasha.

    Just an FYI: I edited your comment to remove the links to your sales site. While we don’t have a “hard and fast” policy w/respect to weight loss product-related links here on the blog, the fact that the site doesn’t provide full nutritional information for the meal replacement shake and supplement products raises a bit of a “red flag.” This is a consumer-oriented web site, so the absence of vital consumer info was a significant factor in making this judgement.

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  3. The FDA will come against anything that is as effective as HCG because can you imagine how much of a bite it is taking out of liposuction, and diet pills the pharmaceutical industry makes billions on? They will crack down as soon as their new miracle diet pill which must be prescribed by a doctor is ready for release. That is when HCG will become a priority and no more HCG. You can take it to the bank. So get it while you can. I have been through this before and know how they operate.

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  4. Diana – this is total nonsense.

    The FDA is talking about homeopathic HCG: which – while it contains no active HCG whatsoever – is still being marketed as an over-the-counter supplement. HCG is a prescription drug, and cannot legally be sold as a dietary supplement: that IS THE LAW, and the FDA is responsible for enforcing that.

    And – just for the record – I’m really quite weary of the typical BS about how the pharmaceutical industry fears HCG. The pharmaceutical industry makes the stuff, for crying out loud… where on earth do you think it comes from??? And liposuction is something performed by cosmetic surgeons – not the pharmaceutical industry. In fact, the FDA specifically warns consumers that liposuction should be considered only as a means of body contouring, not as a form of weight loss (http://www.fda.gov/downloads/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/UCM143573.pdf ). Even if HCG were proven effective for weight loss (and it isn’t), there would be no conflict between the two.

    Seriously: the FDA is hardly immune from criticism, but next time you go on the attack, try to work in a fact or two.

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