"natural alternatives" to the flu shot

I was incensed to get a flyer in the mail from a pharmacy, advertising "alternatives" to the flu shot.

These include Guna Flu, a homeopathic remedy with ingredients diluted by a factor of a billion or so;

Citomix, a similar homeopathic remedy;

a probiotic,
and an "immune support" formula.

If people want to try herbal products, that's their business.  Maybe some of them even work, although the homeopathic remedies are probably complete ripoffs. 

But this pharmacy is trying to persuade people that they can skip vaccination for a contagious disease in favor of their "alternative" products - so they are more likely to transmit flu to others. If people rely on these "natural" remedies, they aren't just risking their own health, they're risking other people's health as well.

The flu kills people - in a bad flu season, the deaths from flu are similar to the deaths from car accidents in the USA. 

The FDA has been going after sellers of fraudulent flu products.

What feels particularly bad about this, is that this pharmacy has been helpful in making medications for me, without the fillers that make me sick from allergic reactions.  I have a right to get medications that I'm not allergic to, and most pharmacies don't have them.  So it's a gnashing feeling of cognitive dissonance, like a friend being my enemy.

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Comment by Luara on October 13, 2013 at 12:18pm

I sent an email to the FDA about the flyer and got a nice message back saying they had forwarded it to their office of compliance. 

So maybe they will send a warning letter to the pharmacy. 

Comment by kathy: ky on October 11, 2013 at 9:08pm

Sounds like they're in it for money.  Maybe their thinking is if people don't get the shot they'll buy alternative meds and hope they work.  I get the shots and will continue to do so.  Some people, my daughter included, don't think they're necessary.  I try to encourage her to get it for herself and her children.

Comment by Luara on October 11, 2013 at 8:57pm

Yes, that's why it bothered me so much, to find a pharmacy hawking alternatives to the flu shot.  The pharmacists are supposed to have expertise about medicine to some extent.  Their recommendations would carry some weight with people. 

Comment by jay H on October 11, 2013 at 7:01pm

It is especially horrific when pharmacies, which are supposedly part of legitimate healthcare push this stuff. It's much worse than when 'health food' stores do it.

Comment by Luara on October 8, 2013 at 3:03pm


The people who do this rationalize it but the FDA has it right - it's fraud to imply that these herbal remedies etc. are a substitute for the flu shot.  Especially the homeopathic ones!  They aren't the kind that is diluted so much there's none of the active ingredient left - but they are diluted enough that they are probably only acting as placebos.  Grr, grr, gnash!

They also have crap recordings on the phone line promoting bioidentical hormones for things that likely have nothing to do with people's hormones, like being tired or unable to concentrate.  There are probably hundreds of reasons for those symptoms

Comment by Idaho Spud on October 8, 2013 at 2:49pm

I feel the same way Luara.  I feel like you do that someone that's supposed to be my friend is promoting things that are bad for me.  I've used 2 different pharmacies so far, and they both promote and sell woo.  Not as bad as yours, but still bad.

Comment by Luara on October 7, 2013 at 4:57am

and the box of chocolates, at least here in the USA, can't have unwarranted health claims ...

Comment by Loren Miller on October 6, 2013 at 7:25pm

Confectionery?!?  That's an insult to every candy maker who ever created magic with chocolate and sucrose and cream!

Comment by Luara on October 6, 2013 at 6:49pm

In the UK, the homeopaths offered to rebrand homeopathic remedies as confectionery!

At long last, an honest label! 

That's probably a big reason for their popularity - people get a medical reason to eat some sugar, and everyone likes sugar :)



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