FDA and FTC Crack Down on Homeopathic Weight Loss Drug

Marketers of off-label HCG issued warning letters

TUESDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Companies that market over-the-counter products containing human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) and labeled as "homeopathic" for weight loss are violating federal law and have been issued warnings, according to a Dec. 6 announcement from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

HCG, which is FDA-approved for the treatment of some cases of female infertility and other medical conditions, has never been approved for weight loss. The companies that market such drugs for this off-label purpose have been issued Warning Letters by the FDA and FTC in a joint effort by the two agencies to keep unproven and possibly unsafe products off the market.

The companies have 15 days to notify the FDA of their progress toward correcting violations that include selling drugs for unapproved purposes and making unsubstantiated claims about their product.

"Deceptive advertising about weight loss products is one of the most prevalent types of fraud," David Vladeck, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. "Any advertiser who makes health claims about a product is required by federal law to back them up with competent and reliable scientific evidence, so consumers have the accurate information they need to make good decisions."

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