Zipcam as One of Homeopathic Products – Complementary&Alternative Therapies Example

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"Zipcam as One of Homeopathic Products" is a worthy example of a paper on complementary and alternative therapies. Zicam is not a prescribed drug so it needed no approval for sale. It is an OTC, which implies that a person is not required to present a doctor’ s prescription before they can buy it. If it were a prescription drug, Zicam should have passed through FDA where its ingredients have analyzed. As such, it would have been approved for sale only if the ingredients were determined to be safe for human consumption with no major side effects such as loss of sense of smell.     Usually, OTCs do not pass through the FDA, which explains why Zicam was approved for sale.

Thus, several forms of Zicam were in many retail outlets within the United States and just anyone could purchase Zicam for self-prescription. Again, it is important to note that Zipcam falls under the category of “ homeopathic” products, which imply that technically, it does not have to be traded as a medication such as is the case with many drugs that require a prescription.   Although this seems a small difference, such a classification implies that it was not necessary for Zicam to undergo the formal process of approval as required by the FDA for the most medication (Books, 2010).

Thus, there was no need for official statistics or studies. The manufacturers of Zicam realized that in the wake of complaints of side effects such as loss of smell, they would be legally responsible for neglect and knowingly releasing drugs that had serious effects on human health. They also knew that Zicam’ s classification as Over-the-Counter and as “ homeopathic” posed no serious threats to them as they would have an advantage in the case of the court case.

Using active ingredients in the nasal such as those used in Afrin and other OTC drugs posed no serious health challenge since these ingredients had been tested and considered fit for consumption. Following reports of serious side effects, this would be the only way through which the manufacturers would redeem their good reputation and already tainted image. It was a way of reassuring the public that Zicam still had its “ miraculous” healing effects (Books, 2010).   Zicam was in itself not a drug; nonetheless, it was used to ease symptoms and make patients of common cold be comfortable as they went about their duties at home and work. Biases that might exist include the fact that some pharmaceuticals are well established and have been in operation longer than pharmaceuticals that were only recently established.

As such, people may want to buy products from the already established ones. Another bias pertains to the media and how they make one pharmaceutical product more visible compared to another.

The hype with Zipcam perhaps best illustrates this. It was marketed as the best cure for the common cold and indeed made the company a multimillion-dollar company until complaints of side effects surfaced. FDA approval sometimes takes longer. Again, well-established pharmaceutical companies seem to have faster approval than other companies do. The regulatory process is innately biased against approving worthy drugs since banning a useful drug could taint the professional image of the FDA.   FDA seeks to take actions that will portray them in a bad light; they expect the least public condemnation.

Finally, a delayed approval process can cause lives.    


Books LLC. (2010). Homeopathic remedies: List of homeopathic preparations, oscillococcinum, arsenicum album, headon, zicam, licefreee! Memphis, Tennessee: Books LLC.
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