The Center For Inquiry has filed a lawsuit against CVS Health Corporation (which includes its nearly 10,000 pharmacies) for promoting and selling homeopathic remedies.

CVS is deceiving customers, CFI says, “through its misrepresentation of homeopathy’s safety and effectiveness, wasting customers’ money and putting their health at risk.”

Homeopathy is, of course the sham treatment that takes a trace amount of actual medicine, then dilutes it with water thousands of times over until no actual medicine remains. The resulting mixture of bullshit and nonsense is packaged and sold to customers who may not realize they’re being duped by nothing more than an expensive placebo.

“Homeopathy is a total sham, and CVS knows it. Yet the company persists in deceiving its customers about the effectiveness of homeopathic products,” said Nicholas Little, CFI’s Vice President and General Counsel. “Homeopathics are shelved right alongside scientifically-proven medicines, under the same signs for cold and flu, pain relief, sleep aids, and so on.”

“If you search for ‘flu treatment’ on their website, it even suggests homeopathics to you,” said Little. “CVS is making no distinction between those products that have been vetted and tested by science, and those that are nothing but snake oil.”

It’s not just a waste of time and money. Over the past couple of years, some homeopathic remedies meant for babies were found to harm them because the pills were manufactured improperly. (The makers found a way to screw up doing nothing.)

Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission have taken action against misleading homeopathic remedies in recent years.

In CVS’ case, the fake remedies are placed right next to the real ones, with no distinction made for customers who don’t understand the difference. CVS doesn’t have a special section marked “These Don’t Work But Give Us Your Money Anyway.”

As Nick Little said, even online, CVS doesn’t make any distinctions. When I searched for arthritis medications this morning, these two products were listed right next to each other with no warning that the Arnicare product won’t make you better.

That’s the point CFI makes in the lawsuit, and here’s just one example of what they mean:

Through its marketing and product placement, both in its physical stores and on its internet site, CVS is sending a clear and false message to its consumers.

This message is that homeopathic products are no different than science-based medicines.

A customer suffering from flu-like symptoms is informed by CVS that Tylenol Cold and Flu medicine, containing acetaminophen, tested and approved by the FDA, is an equivalent solution to Oscillococcinum (containing the organs of a Muscovy duck diluted to the power of 10400).

By displaying the product Oscillococcinum under a sign reading “cold & flu” and alongside science-based remedies for cold and flu symptoms, CVS is actively claiming to customers that Oscilloccoccinum treats cold and flu symptoms.

Oscillococcinum does not provide relief for cold and flu symptoms at any level greater than a placebo.

CFI attempted to address this privately through correspondence but CVS wouldn’t respond to their letters. That left no other option. The lawsuit is being filed in the District of Columbia, and CFI claims that what CVS is doing also runs afoul of DC’s “Consumer Protection Procedures Act” which states it’s unlawful to sell anything that misrepresents what the product does or misleads customers.

Read the full story at The Friendly Atheist