Lawsuit Targeting Walmart and CVS over Fake Medicine Gets $250,000 Boost from Stiefel Freethought Foundation


For Immediate Release: July 10, 2019
Contact: Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director
press@centerforinquiry.org - (207) 358-9785

Advocates waging a legal battle to expose the fraud of homeopathic fake medicine are welcoming the support of a formidable ally. The Stiefel Freethought Foundation is adding $150,000 to the $100,000 already committed to help underwrite the consumer fraud cases against megaretailers Walmart and CVS. Activist and philanthropist Todd Stiefel, a former executive of Stiefel Laboratories, is also providing expert advice and guidance.

In two separate consumer fraud lawsuits filed in the District of Columbia, the Center for Inquiry (CFI) is accusing the planet’s largest retailer, Walmart, and the country’s largest drug retailer, CVS, of deceiving consumers by making no meaningful distinction between real medicine and useless homeopathic treatments on their shelves and in their online stores, thereby misrepresenting homeopathy’s efficacy.

The Stiefel Freethought Foundation, founded by Todd Stiefel to secure humanity’s future by ensuring public policy decisions are based on love and reason rather than bias and dogma, has now provided $250,000 to fund CFI’s efforts in two separate donations. Stiefel himself has been a prominent activist for secular and humanist causes and achieved great success as Stiefel Laboratories’ Chief Strategy Officer and Enterprise Leadership Team chairman. His experience and expertise is a valuable contribution to CFI’s legal efforts.

“We are incredibly grateful to Todd for joining us in our effort to protect consumers from being bamboozled by the deceptive marketing of useless homeopathic products by these major retailers,” said CFI president and CEO Robyn Blumner. “Todd is not only supplying us with the financial resources we need to see these cases through, but also providing an essential depth of knowledge and expertise.”

“Consumers need to know what Walmart and CVS already know: homeopathic products are fake medicine. These pharmacies continue to place them on shelves labeled for cold and flu or other disease treatments, even though they know it is not possible for homeopathic products to do anything other than waste consumers’ money,” said Stiefel. “I am proud to support the creative legal strategies CFI is implementing to make sure consumers are not misled.”

Homeopathy is an eighteenth-century pseudoscience premised on the absurd, unscientific notion that a substance that causes a particular symptom is what should be ingested to alleviate it. Dangerous substances are diluted to the point that no trace of the active ingredient remains, but its alleged effectiveness rests on the nonsensical claim that water molecules have “memories” of the original substance. Homeopathic treatments have no effect whatsoever beyond that of a placebo.

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at centerforinquiry.org.