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Posted April 12, 2012

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Consumer Protection

Shoppers Drug Mart Named in $30M Lawsuit for Selling Homeopathic Product

TORONTO - The Centre for Inquiry (CFI) Canada is lending critical scientific support in a $30 million lawsuit against Shoppers Drug Mart and Boiron Canada.

The suit alleges sales of Oscillococcinum, a homeopathic product marketed for flu-like symptoms, violate consumer protection laws.

"Oscillococcinum is overpriced sugar," said Iain Martel, Chair of CFI's Committee for the Advancement of scientific Skepticism. "The extreme dilutions used to make it ensure there is not a single molecule left of its supposed medicinal ingredient."

CFI sent letters to Shoppers in January and March 2012, calling for the pharmacy giant to stop stocking products like Oscillo that make false and misleading claims about their contents and effectiveness.

"Shoppers Drug Mart had the opportunity for voluntary compliance, but chose not to respond," said Justin Trottier, CFI's National Communications Director. "Their silence gave us no choice but to support a legal approach."

CFI entered a partner-solicitor relationship with Roy Elliott O'Connor LLP, recognized as one of the best class action law firms in Canada, and famous for charter cases on provocative issues including same-sex marriage, euthanasia, privacy, and censorship.

Boiron recently agreed to spend up to $12 million to resolve similar accusations in the United States. Consumers there sought refunds for Boiron products, including Oscillococcinum, that do not work as claimed.

"We hope everyone who profits from homeopathic products watches closely," said Trottier. "These may prove to be landmark cases that revoke the free pass held by those making misleading, unfounded and unscientific claims about homeopathic products."




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