Homeopathic firm given clean bill of health
Local manufacturer Washington Homeopathic Products (WHP) was notified last month by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that it has pulled its operations back into compliance with federal regulations at its Morgan County facility.
The FDA had issued a Warning Letter to the company in August 2009, outlining a number of manufacturing and advertising violations.
WHP President Joe Lillard said since his company received the warnings, every employee has contributed to a change in the way their products are made, labeled, warehoused and promoted.
The company makes individual and combination homeopathic remedies.
The WHP staff has now instituted extensive documentation processes, tracking not only their own production but certificates of origin and analysis for every item they purchase from other companies for use.
“We had to throw out all our products – not because they were bad, but because we couldn’t prove where we got every product in them,” Lillard said.
The loss of inventory cut WHP’s sales in half for nearly six months, Lillard said.
“We had 72 combination remedies before. Now we have 25, but we’re adding more back every day,” said Lillard.
WHP has made an effort to keep its customers informed about their inventory and changes to the products and labels, which now cannot claim treatment of chronic illnesses.
“We’ve been in business so long, I guess they figured we’d be back,” Lillard said.
In addition, the company’s plans to build a second building in Morgan County’s industrial park were shelved, and they cut their staff in number and hours, Lillard said.
The company also sank a significant amount of money into the services of a consultant who advised them how to meet the FDA regulations they had failed to meet before, Lillard said.
As a result, WHP now has standard operating procedures for every step of manufacturing for every product they make, has updated equipment methods and has trained its entire staff on Current Good Manufacturing Practices – CGMP, for short.
“By God, we learned all those words,” Lillard said.
‘There’s a tremendous difference in our level of knowledge,” he said.
His company’s release from FDA warnings was a result of a concerted effort from his 40 employees, all of whom are Morgan County residents.
WHP has been in business since 1873, and grew quickly after Lillard and his wife Linda Sprankle bought the company in 1991.
“There are only three companies in the U.S. will a full line of homeopathic products. We’re one of them,” he said.
“I was determined to do it. I decided they are not going to put me out of business,” Lillard said.
The company continues to have a weekly meeting with the FDA, and sends them letters every two weeks outlining the steps and procedures it has taken and continues to take to address the agency’s warnings.
“We did what they said to do,” Lillard said.