FDA official says increasing popularity, safety issues led to review of unproven remedies

A top drug regulator says increasing safety problems with homeopathic remedies contributed to the government's decision to revisit its oversight of the products at a public hearing this week.

The Food and Drug Administration is wrapping up a two-day meeting to hear from supporters and critics of products like Zicam Allergy Relief and Cold-Eeze, alternative remedies that are protected by federal law, but not accepted by mainstream medicine.

Similar to dietary supplements, the FDA does not review the safety or effectiveness of homeopathic remedies before they launch. But unlike supplements, homeopathic medicines can state that they are intended for specific medical symptoms.

The FDA's Cynthia Schnedar, a director of drug compliance, says the agency has issued 40 warning letters to homeopathic product makers since 2009 amid increasing U.S. sales.