When you go to the store for medication, including natural supplements, you expect that you will get what you are supposed to. Unfortunately, there are many stories about people who purchase supplements and later find out that they didn't get what they paid for. In a recent lawsuit brought against Walmart, an allegation of fake medicine was made, but this one wasn't based on the ingredients in the products.
The claim notes that Walmart is putting homeopathic medications next to mainstream over-the-counter medications. The lawsuit claims that the marketing and sale of these medicines betrays customers. In response, Walmart noted that they want to be a trusted retailer and that they work to ensure they meet the requirements of the law.
How are consumers protected?
Homeopathic drugs must comply with specific regulations, including labeling requirements. It must be made clear that the drugs are meant to only help address the symptoms of conditions that can be easily self-diagnosed, such as the common cold or a sore throat.
Another requirement is that the homeopathic drug manufacturers must register with the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are subjected to inspections by the FDA, but don't have to go through the rigorous approval process of other over-the-counter drugs.
Homeopathic drugs aren't the same thing as nutritional supplements. Nutritional supplements can't claim that they relieve, diagnose or cure any condition. When manufacturers aren't using proper labels, it's easy for consumers to be duped into buying something they don't need or that isn't what they think it is.
What could happen if there is an issue?
If there is a labeling issue, or even an ingredient issue, people who take the substance can be harmed. One issue that is especially dangerous is the chance of an interaction with another drug they are taking, which may happen if the product isn't properly labeled.
In the case of the marketing claim against Walmart, it is easy to see why that might be a problem. A person might purchase something thinking that it will treat a condition when it doesn't. This might cause the condition to go unchecked and worsen.
There are some special considerations that come into the picture when you deal with issues involving any type of medication. Determining exactly what happened and whom to hold liable for the damages is imperative if you are going to seek compensation through a product liability claim. These cases will sometimes turn into class action or mass torts lawsuits due to their complicated nature and number of individuals harmed.