The case that links homeopathic teething remedies to the deaths of 10 infants got a little stronger last week when The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released new information from their ongoing investigation.
The FDA confirmed, through its analysis, the presence of the poisonous substance belladonna in the teething remedies. More importantly, their analysis detected amounts that were inconsistent between samples, and some of the levels were much higher than that indicated on the labeling of the product.
Although the FDA has been warning for years to stay away from these teething remedies, the big difference between 2010 and 2016 is that now, there are ten dead (and hundreds of sick) infants. That tragedy has brought this issue to the forefront, albeit too late.
In response to the deaths and illnesses, although there is only an alleged link to the teething remedies, the FDA warned against the use of these products in September of last year. At that time, CVS and other pharmacies took swift action by removing any product belonging to this category from its shelves. In addition, they placed a "do not sell" block on these products, in the event that a customer attempts to purchase one of them.
Just one month later, one of the companies named in the FDA press release, Hyland's, announced that they would cease production of their homeopathic teething products. Following suit, in November, Raritan Pharmaceuticals recalled three belladonna-containing homeopathic products, two of which were marketed by CVS.
Even though all of this is a step in the right direction, it is not enough. These products are still out there, on the shelves, being sold and used. (1)
Supporters of homeopathy are generally difficult to persuade, natural mommy-blogs promising a good nights sleep from a product that they are, most likely, getting paid to endorse. Worse still, the company that produces these products, Standard Homeopathic Company in Los Angeles, will not agree to conduct a recall.
As someone who has followed this story very closely, the next step may be the most significant. Up until now, the evidence (although dense) is circumstantial. But, if and when it is determined that these products did, indeed, cause the death of these children, the hammer will drop. And, although I will be happy not to have to write about infants dying at the hand of homeopathy, I cannot help but wonder why we don't remove all of the other dangerous products before more babies die?
(1) I happen to find myself in a grocery store in Vermont over the holidays and found this on the shelves. Only $4.87 to poison your baby!
Taken by the author, at a grocery store in Vermont on December 27th, 2016
2) If your child experiences seizures, difficulty breathing, lethargy, excessive sleepiness, muscle weakness, skin flushing, constipation, difficulty urinating, or agitation after using homeopathic teething products, please