CVS doesn't bend to social media campaign against homeopathic remedies

CVS isn't backing down after a social media influencer called for the chain to stop selling homeopathic remedies by downing a bottle of them herself.

Social media influencer Science Babe called for CVS to stop selling homeopathic medicines with a video of her downing a bottle of the remedies.

Social media influencer Science Babe filmed herself last week downing a full bottle of homeopathic pills to prove they are ineffective as part of a bid to get pharmacies to stop selling them. Yet CVS is taking the stance that homeopathic products are legal under federal law and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Homeopathic treatments are remedies that have diluted their active ingredients to the point where there is no active ingredient left, the woman behind the Science Babe moniker, forensic chemist Yvette d’Entremont, explained in the video.

The FDA's Compliance Policy Guide provides guidance on the regulation of over-the-counter and prescription homeopathic drugs and delineates those conditions under which homeopathic drugs may be marketed in the US, Mike DeAngelis, CVS’ PR director told PRWeek via email.

The video, which was posted on YouTube last week and has since garnered over 200,000 views, features d’Entremont chugging a 50-pill bottle of homeopathic sleep aid Hyland’s Calms Forte. The video is part of her effort to get pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreens, and Rite-Aid to pull homeopathic remedies from their shelves.

She proceeded to film the results, noting in the video that she didn’t even feel slightly drowsy until about 20 hours later, which she chalked up to a lack of sleep.

"CVS actually has their own brand of a homeopathic treatment, so the fact they are putting their name on this and they are a reputable company is dangerous, endorsing pseudo science, and I think their customers deserve better," d’Entremont says in the video.

In response, DeAngeli told PRWeek it is important to note that d’Entremont did not ingest a CVS brand product in the video.

"It appears to be a national brand product available at many pharmacy retailers," he said. "She does indicate on the video that homeopathic products are available at CVS/pharmacy and other national pharmacy chains."  

As part of her campaign, d’Entremont is also circulating a petition with the same goal. Currently, 1,500 supporters have signed it.

"Sign the petition, because CVS is enabling these charlatans to sell these products," she says in the video.

D’Entremont specifies that the petition is not targeting "natural" remedies like supplements. This is solely about the products labeled 'homeopathic' and with active ingredients measured in HPUS [Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States] units, indicating that there is no measurable active ingredient.

James Graham, Walgreens’ senior manager of corporate media relations told PRWeek that the pharmacy has no comment on this issue.

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