Respectful Insolence

Stephen Colbert on the Zicam fiasco

Last week, I wrote about the FDA’s warning about the zinc-containing “homeopathic” cold remedy known as Zicam. Basically, Zicam was approved without testing to show it to be both safe and efficacious because it slipped in using an old 1938 law that allows homeopathic remedies to bypass the usual process for FDA approval. Too bad that, due to the zinc in Zicam, it can cause anosmia, or the loss of the sense of smell.

Stephen Colbert, of course, thinks it must be the Democrats who are plotting against one of Rush Limbaugh’s main sponsors:

Not even Zicam can stop the sweet smell of health freedom:

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Smell of Freedom – Jeff Goldblum
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Stephen Colbert in Iraq

Comments

  1. #1 Matthew Cline
    June 24, 2009

    Zicam was approved without testing to show it to be both safe and efficacious because it slipped in using an old 1938 law that allows homeopathic remedies to bypass the usual process for FDA approval.

    About that, I think that your previous analysis was that it slipped through due to the manufacturer claiming it to be homeopathic, when it wasn’t. However, I’ve run across some other blog posts stating that, according to the law, it’s technically homeopathic, because:

    1) Zinc appears in the Homeopath’s Big Book of Approved Ingredients (whatever-it’s-called; I can’t recall)

    2) That, according to the Big Book, the minimum allowed dilution is 1X (1:10), while Zicam is 2X (1:100).

    Assuming that’s true, then it wasn’t a loophole that let Zicam through, but rather the law was acting exactly as intended.

  2. #2 Chris
    June 24, 2009

    Wait, what? Now zinc is a heavy metal? It is right after copper and definitely a whole lot lighter than cadmium, which is lighter than mercury!

  3. #3 Matthew Cline
    June 24, 2009

    I think that in medicine “heavy metal” has a different meaning.

  4. #4 Grendel
    June 24, 2009

    I certainly does in music!

  5. #5 Zar
    June 24, 2009

    I was hoping you’d post this. I liked the reference to Airborne.

    “This may smell like bullshit to some people. But not to users of Zicam!”

  6. #6 Lobster
    June 24, 2009

    Didn’t we recently see an article on “homeopathic plutonium?” Believe you me, that stuff can seriously mess you up at a lot less than 1 part per 10.

  7. #7 Mystyk
    June 24, 2009

    I just happened to be staying up late enough to see that when it aired. It was a great clip. I think the best part was the video of Limbaugh where he literally claimed it was a targeted plot by Democrats against the company.

    Can credibility go into negative values?

  8. #8 Melissa (oddharmonic)
    June 24, 2009

    I’m pretty sure the smell of freedom is jet fuel, since jet noise is the sound of freedom. (Post hoc fallacy for the win.)

    What would be a homeopathic dilution of jet fuel? Would we be able to smell it?

  9. #9 Uncle Glenny
    June 24, 2009

    Zinc? Hah. Things were so much easier when I was a kid (ahem, a little after Orac, I believe) when we just played with metallic mercury.

    Excuse me, I’m hosting a tea party.

  10. #10 Grendel
    June 25, 2009

    Congratulations – I think you’ve just made the breakthrough that we needed for hypersonic flight!

    “What would be a homeopathic dilution of jet fuel?”

  11. #11 Yojimbo
    June 25, 2009

    What would be a homeopathic dilution of jet fuel? Would we be able to smell it?

    Seems like the more dilute it is the stronger it should smell. “OMG! Someone dropped a 10C vial. Quick, call Hazmat and evacuate the city!!”

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.