Milwaukie, Ore., Autumn 2015—As the public debate on vaccinations rises, more healthcare providers and parents alike seek information. The American Association Homeopathic Pharmacists (AAHP) reminds manufacturers and marketers that the promotion of any product—homeopathic or otherwise—as an over-the-counter alternative to a vaccine is a violation of federal and state law. Furthermore, in a letter1 to the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia Convention of the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specifies its position that the use of homeopathic medicines for disease prevention is considered a violation of the law (see point Prophylaxis at this webpage).
By its primary definition of “like cures like,” homeopathic medicine is intended to treat symptoms that are present rather than potential future symptoms. As such, the AAHP does not support the prophylactic use a homeopathic drug (a.k.a. homeoprophylaxis).
Additionally, most cases of an infectious disease are not self-limiting; the symptoms and diagnosis need to be confirmed by laboratory tests. These are contributing factors as to why the FDA requires any product labeled for prophylaxis of a serious health condition that is not self-diagnosed to be sold pursuant to a prescription.
It should be noted that the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS) restricts most nosodes to prescription-only sales to ensure diagnosis or monitoring under a trained medical professional. Nosodes are a specific category of homeopathic medicines in which active ingredients derive from pathological organs or tissues with causative agents such as bacteria, fungi, etc. There are 21 nosodes accepted by the HPCUS.
The controversial practice of homeoprophylaxis may have stemmed from assumptions made about the active ingredients used in nosodes or the use of homeopathy during past epidemics. When properly applied by trained medical professionals, homeopathy has been shown to be useful in treating symptoms of epidemic disease. As in the case of the early 20th century flu pandemic, broad symptoms experienced by a large population were matched to the appropriate broad-acting homeopathic medicine—similar to the normal procedure to apply homeopathy.
AAHP strongly recommends that consumers follow the advice of healthcare professionals and government officials during a health crisis. Consumers are also encouraged to visit the webpages on vaccinations from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/.
1. Letter of correspondence from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia Convention of the United States. Sent by Edward Miracco, FDA Consumer Safety Officer. May 19, 1997.