Lawsuit accuses Walmart of 'fraudulent' marketing of homeopathic medicine

Jun 14, 2019

A new lawsuit accuses Walmart of misleading customers seeking treatments for a variety of ailments from colds to asthma. The Amherst- headquartered Center for Inquiry is suing the retail giant over how it markets homeopathic products. "There's no scientific evidence whatsoever that homeopathic products work for any disease," said Nick Little, Center for Inquiry's Vice President and General Counsel.

Little points to a product Walmart sells called oscillococcinum, which claims to contain traces of the heart and liver of a duck. He says the product is "diluted down to infinitesimally small levels, so in every possible sense of the word it is a sugar pill. There's no trace of the active ingredient there."

According to Little, oscillococcinum ranks among Walmart's best-selling homeopathic products.

For comment on the lawsuit Walmart supplied WBFO with the following statement:

"We want to be the most trusted retailer, and we look to our suppliers to provide products that meet all applicable laws, including labeling laws. Our Equate private label homeopathic products are designed to include information directly stating that the claims are not based on accepted medical evidence and have not been evaluated by the FDA.  We take allegations like these seriously and will respond as appropriate with the court."

Little says the situation could be remedied with appropriate product placement. The homeopathic remedies, he says, are often sold near other products which have been scientifically proven to treat certain symptoms.

"We're not asking that these products aren't sold," Little said. 

"We're simply asking that they are placed in a separate aisle and labeled as homeopathic so consumers know what they're buying."