Stay Away from Homeopathic Flu Vaccine "Substitutes"
Stephen Barrett, M.D.
Leonard J. Torok, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon who operates the Ohio Holistic Medicine & Wellness Center in Medina, Ohio, offers "an answer to the flu vaccine shortage." According to his clinic's newsletter:
Last year, Ohio Holistic Medicine treated 250 families with the homeopathic vaccine with good results and no side effects. In general, the homeopathic form of the vaccine has been shown to be just as effective as the stronger, injectable vaccine. The advantages however, make the homeopathic remedy much more desirable.
The biggest advantage is that the homeopathic remedy is completely safe for everyone young or old, and can even be used during pregnancy. Secondly, unlike the injectable version, it can be used both to prevent the flu and help rid the flu if you have already contracted it. Another big advantage for some is that there are no needles. The remedy is in a convenient pellet form and requires no prescription. Finally, as with all homeopathic medicine, it is much more affordable .
The product—called Influenzinum 30C—is manufactured by Washington Homeopathic Products, of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. The company's Web site states that the product is made from the actual vaccine, 2005 strain, which is repeatedly diluted 1:10 or 1:100 with distilled water and/or alcohol so that the final solution reaches a "30C" concentration that is incorporated into pills .
A 30C dilution means that the original vaccine sample has been diluted 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times, long past the point where a single molecule of the original solution can be present. In other words, the real ingredient in the pills is the inert substance was used to make them—and taking them is the same as doing nothing.
In November 2004, my local newspaper (The Allentown Morning Call) carried an ad from a local pharmacy which stated that taking ten drops per month of Influenzinum (which it misspelled) "may effectively protect you and your family this flu season."
FDA regulations state that homeopathic products offered for use only in "self-limiting conditions recognizable by consumers" may be marketed without a prescription . Influenza does not fit this description. Moreover, it is illegal to introduce biological products for human use into interstate commerce without a special license that requires FDA approval [4,5]. I have asked the FDA and the licensing authorities in Ohio and Pennsylvania to determine whether the promotions described in this article are legal.
- All natural flu remedy answer to vaccine shortage. Trillium Creek Today, Nov 2004, pp 1,3.
- Influenzinum 30C. Washington Homeopathic Products Web site, accessed Nov 16, 2004.
- Conditions Under Which Homeopathic Drugs May be Marketed. FDA compliance policy guide 7132.15, revised March 1995.
- Masiello SA. Warning letter to Bill Gray, April 2, 2003.
- FDA Manual of Standard Operating Procedures and Policies: Issuance and Reissuance of Licenses for Biological Products, SOPP 8403, Version #2, April 6, 1999.
This article was revised on November 17, 2004.