Boiron, Please Sue Us

August 17, 2011

As you know, the Center for Inquiry (CFI) and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) have publicly rebuked Wal-Mart for marketing homeopathic junk, in particular a product called Oscillococcinum, a purported remedy for flu. We are now inviting the product’s manufacturer, Boiron, to sue us. Here’s why.

Boiron is a large, multinational corporation based in France. Apparently, Boiron has recently decided to throw around its corporate weight by threatening to sue an Italian blogger who dared to speak the truth — that the so-called “active” ingredient in Oscillococcinum is so diluted that it is deceptive to describe it as “active.” Indeed, assuming Boiron has engaged in serial dilution to the extent it claims it has, it is highly likely there’s not a single molecule of the alleged “active” ingredient in its product.

Boiron lists the purported active ingredient for Oscillococcinum on its package (see photo). Because both CFI and CSI unambiguously assert that Boiron’s stated claim that “Anas barbariae hepatis et cordis extractum 200CK HPUS” is an “active” ingredient is false and deceptive, we invite Boiron to take us to court in the United States. (For those not up on Latin and homeopathic verbiage, “Anas barbarie.” etc. is duck liver and heart—which, as indicated, is then diluted to or near the point of nonexistence.)

We are inviting Boron to litigate not because we think their suit might have merit; quite to the contrary, such a suit would have absolutely no merit. If sued in any American court, we are confident we will prevail. Homeopathy has no scientific basis. Instead, we are inviting litigation because we do not believe Boron should be able to silence critics by picking on isolated bloggers.

If Boiron has confidence in its product, then it will take us up on this invitation. If not, then we will have further confirmation that Boiron does not have the evidence to support the claims that it makes for its product.

In manufacturing and peddling ineffective junk, Boiron is doing a profound disservice to the public worldwide. Influenza is a serious disease and to exploit sick customers by marketing something that is ineffective (accept, arguably, as a placebo) is nothing short of shameful.

Boiron, if you sincerely believe your product has an “active” ingredient as labeled, then prove it. Don’t pick on just one blogger. Sue us and sue all those in the scientific community who know, and have asserted, that your claims are false. Boiron, put up — or shut down your product line.

Note: The original post has been amended to indicate the Italian blogger received a warning letter threatening suit. We have been informed that no court papers have yet been filed.

(This post reflects the official position of CFI and CSI.)