I started feeling sick a month ago, now. First it was a sore throat-- always the harbinger of my winter viruses. Then the brain fog that makes me ask myself questions like "Why is 'un-derstand' a word, but 'derstand' isn't?" And finally the muscle weakness and fatigue that sets me on my couch for hours at a time, watching Newhart on loop. It was time to get serious about getting better: it was time to go to the pharmacy.
For most Americans, that means a quick stop for some Sudafed or a longer trip to the doctor for a prescription. For almost 5 million of us, it means stopping by the local drug store for something deemed gentler and more "natural" by the alternative medicine community: homeopathy. So I thought I would experiment a little and try to cure my illness with Coldcalm, a popular homeopathic cold remedy available at my local Rite Aid, and manufactured by Boiron Laboratories, the largest homeopathic peddler in the world. Knowing my symptoms would normally improve in four to seven days, I thought, if I felt better any sooner, I would give some credence to the medicine's potential power. Here's what actually happened:
Yes, after seven days of attempted contact, Boiron finally told me I could have my money back-- but only if I sent them a receipt dated within the last 14 days, and the bar code from the original box. That sounds fair until you consider that homeopathic remedies only seem to "work" when people feel better on their own, and that's often after a week or more has passed since the product was purchased. The company has conveniently picked a tiny window for returns, in which most people not familiar with the homeopathic scam are virtually guaranteed not to come to the same conclusions I did… yet.
Boiron is selling people fake medicine and profiting off their misinformation, knowing that by the time their customers have found out the truth, it will likely be past the chance for a refund on their bogus product. Will you join me and the JREF in telling Boiron to refund any customer who ever bought their products? If you've bought Boiron products and want your money back, "add a reason" when you sign the petition, and say so!
Carrie Poppy is the co-host of the investigative podcast, Oh No, Ross and Carrie. Sugar pills give her a stomach ache.