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Homeopathy products recalled because they might contain penicillin

By Adam Withnall

A company making homeopathic remedies in the US has had to recall more than 50 different products from across its range after they were found to contain actual medicine.

Terra-Medica, based in Ferndale, Washington, promises to provide “a wealth of education and high quality health products [to] holistic health care practitioners across the US”.

Yet in a series of tests by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it was found that a variety of tablets, capsules, drops and suppositories – with names like “Pleo-QUENT” and “Pleo-STOLO” – actually contained quantities of penicillin.

The FDA said in a release on its website that Terra-Medica was “voluntarily recalling 56 lots”.

“FDA has determined that these products have the potential to contain penicillin or derivatives of penicillin, which may be produced during the fermentation process,” the agency said.

“In patients who are allergic to beta-lactam antibiotics, even at low levels, exposure to penicillin can result in a range of allergic reactions from mild rashes to severe and life-threatening anaphylactic reactions.”

The company has said on its website that the Pleo Sanum range are the original homeopathic medicines from Germany, and “provide a broad spectrum medical alternative that is not antibiotic or hormone based while effectively delivering acute and chronic care”.

Homeopathy was indeed invented in Germany, by the physician Samuel Christian Hahnemann (1755-1843), following dissatisfaction with the mainstream medical practices of the day.

It involves the practice of massively diluting active ingredients with large quantities of water, and has since been extensively studied and conclusively debunked. A 2010 report by the Science and Technology Committee of the House of Commons found that homeopathic remedies are “scientifically implausible” and perform no better than placebos.

That apparently hasn’t bothered Prince Charles, however, who last year was accused of lobbying Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt over use of the controversial alternative treatment.

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