CFI wins a round

Here’s a bit of good news:

This morning, a three judge panel for the D.C. Court of Appeals, the highest court in the District, reversed the dismissal of suits the Center for Inquiry brought against Walmart and CVS over claims that they deceived customers by marketing fake medicine as if it were real.

Walmart and CVS shelve homeopathic products alongside real medicine. This placement is deceptive to consumers who can easily confuse it for scientifically-tested products that provably work – which they are not. CFI’s suits had been dismissed by two lower D.C. courts.

This is not a joke. The local big drug chain, Bartell Drugs, does the same thing. It’s infuriating. Of course consumers are confused by it. Homeopathic cold remedy=water.

But today, in a unanimous opinion written by Senior Judge Phyllis D. Thompson, the appeals court ruled that the placement of products on a store shelf does, in fact, communicate information to consumers that they can rely upon and be deceived by.

In addition, the court reversed the lower courts’ rulings that held CFI cannot bring claims on behalf of consumers under the D.C. law because it is not a consumer protection organization. The appellate court correctly determined that CFI’s longstanding work against the fraud of homeopathy and all pseudoscience qualifies it as a consumer protection organization.


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