And so does Walmart and several other mainstream retailers.
Allergy season has hit my family pretty hard this year, my daughter the most. The congestion and post-nasal drip she’s experienced has caused a terrible sounding cough and now she’s experiencing an ear ache, probably related to the mucus congestion. Motrin, anti-histamines, and decongestants for kids all seem to be working, but I started thinking a topical ear drop that can relieve pain might be handy in the middle of the night when the pain seems to settle on the ear she’s sleeping on.
So I checked CVS. They’re a big, national pharmacy chain. I expected the best set of choices and professional advice.
Boy was I wrong.
What I found was initially hopeful. I pulled Â a product called “Similasan” from the shelf and headed to the checkout after I read “Earache Relief” on the front in big, bold letters. About half way to the cashier, I stopped and headed back to the shelf it came from, tossing it haphazardly to the approximate spot it originally sat.
In small print, on the back, the label read, “Homeopathic medications work effectively with no known side effects and no known drug interactions. Gentle enough for children. Strong enough for adults.“
The ingredients: “Active Ingredients: Chamomilla 10x , Mercurius Solubilis 15x , Sulphur 12x. Inactive Ingredients: Glycerin.” And, of course, water. The water comes from the previous ingredients, which no longer exist since they were diluted to the point at which they are no longer chemically significant in the water they are diluted by. At 24x, a solution has about a 60% chance of having just a single molecule of the original substance (assuming one mole was used). So you can get the idea that once you dilute beyond 1 part substance to 100 parts water, you get a result that has little effect.
To put this in perspective, the EPA allows drinking water to have arsenic at a ratio of about 10 parts per billion (in homeopathic terms, this a is 6x dilution). This is good, since “mercurius solubilis” is homeopathic-speak for diluted mercury.
So where does the $13,000.00 come in?
A 10.0 ml bottle of slightly soapy water costs $10.49. Don’t believe me, go online to CVS pharmacy and check for yourself. The math works out to about $13,846.00 per gallon. For slightly soapy water.
There has never been a study that followed scientific controls which shows any efficacy of homeopathic “remedies.” It is snake oil. A rip off.
CVS should be ashamed.
Here’s an excerpt from the email response I received when I inquired about it:
Thank you for contacting us regarding the problem you recently experienced with Similasan Children’s Earache Relief Ear Drops.
At CVS we make every effort to sell only the highest quality products in our stores.Â As a result of your comments, we will request that the manufacturer investigate the problem you have experienced and take the necessary action to prevent a recurrence in the future.
We ask that you please return the unused portion along with the packaging and your original receipt; you will be refunded with the form of payment used to make the purchase.
A search on the CVS website reveals 13 products with the term “homeopathic” in the description. Walmart has 5 products, and Walgreens has 10 products.
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