Don’t Miss a Single Update or New Release! Sign up Today

The following information is for educational purposes only. Due to new FDA Compounding Guidelines and Telehealth Certifications,
Nu Image Medical no longer offers the HCG Weight Loss Program. GOOD NEWS! We have developed something better and easier: WAYT-less!

Is the HCG Diet Illegal?

Is the HCG Diet Illegal?
Because of the recent FDA ruling that made it illegal to sell over the counter HCG products, some people have wondered whether or not the diet itself is illegal. The HCG diet is not actually illegal in any way as long as the hormone is prescribed by a medical doctor and the diet is overseen by a licensed medical provider, but even after the FDA ruling there have been several retailers that continue to sell the hormone without a prescription. This is usually the main cause of confusion among people who are interested in trying the diet, as there are now hundreds or maybe thousands of websites and unlicensed pharmacies that are selling HCG without a prescription. And, there are dozens of potential health concerns and risks for those who use those retailers to purchase HCG.

Over the counter  HCG diet products (not the hormone itself) are illegal

It is important to differentiate the fact that HCG diet products, that is any product that includes HCG as an ingredient, either active or inactive, are illegal, but the hormone itself is not illegal. HCG is used for several different medical purposes including fertility treatments as well as diets, but there is no legitimate HCG diet provider that would prescribe or recommend an HCG diet product over the actual hormone itself. More specifically, "€œhomeopathic"€ HCG diet products have been ruled to be illegal by the FDA, and before the ruling there were dozens of products that were available over the counter that claimed to contain HCG in them but may not have actually had any actual hormone in them. There were also pills that claimed to have HCG in them, but HCG cannot be absorbed through the stomach and those were also false claims, so the FDA felt it was necessary to crack down on these retailers and make their products illegal.

The FDA made it clear that very low calorie diets need medical supervision

In the FDA consumer update about HCG, they made it clear that very low calorie diets are not unsafe unless they are not medically supervised. Very low calorie diets like the HCG diet are regularly used to treat moderate to serious cases of obesity, but these diets require medical oversight in order to be completely safe. The major problem with the HCG diet is that people attempt the diet without medical supervision, which is a mistake because there is no very low calorie diet that can be safe without medical guidance. At clinics like Nu Image Medical, each patient is evaluated to ensure that the diet is completely safe before they try it, and this is the only way to guarantee that attempting the diet will be safe and that the hormone product will be safe as well.

Hormone products from unlicensed pharmacies can be dangerous

Another thing to consider is that hormone products from the pharmacies that continue to sell them even after the FDA ruling are even more dangerous than ever. These companies are continuing to defy the FDA ruling and are breaking the law by selling HCG products without a prescription, so most of these companies are located overseas. Patients in the U.S. who buy these products are putting themselves at risk and are jeopardizing their health because there is no oversight regarding the product quality and the ingredients used in the products. The label may claim to contain certain ingredients but the product may not actually contain those ingredients, or it may contain different ingredients, and there is no way for the patient to know what's in it unless the product is laboratory tested.

Off label prescribed use of HCG is perfectly legal

The main thing to remember is that off label use of HCG as a part of a very low calorie diet is legal as long as the hormone is prescribed by a licensed medical provider. The FDA also mentioned this in its consumer update, and the purpose of making HCG products illegal was not to make the off label use of the hormone illegal; it was to combat the thousands of fake products that were available online and elsewhere. Patients were even experiencing strange side effects from these low quality products and there were some negative stories from people who tried these products. There have been no cases of serious side effect or harmful long term effects from people who have tried the HCG diet under medical supervision, and the stories that you may have heard about are mostly from patients who tried the diet on their own by purchasing illegal hormone products.

Homeopathic products cannot contain HCG

The Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the United States has a list of ingredients that can be used in homeopathic remedies, and HCG is not included on that list. That means if you find any product labeled homeopathic and that lists HCG in the ingredient list, it should be avoided. There is also no evidence that any type of homeopathic product is effective for any medical purpose, as most of these products are diluted to the point where there are only a few molecules of an active ingredient in them, if there is any at all. Companies that continue to sell HCG homeopathic products are taking a major risk and face both civil and criminal action if they are caught, and if anyone has a homeopathic HCG product they should discontinue using it and get rid of it as soon as possible.

Don't try to save money with online unlicensed pharmacies

You may be tempted to purchase HCG from an online pharmacy that doesn't require a prescription for the hormone, but the savings are actually quite minimal because there are providers like Nu Image Medical that sell the full diet, medical consultation and hormone at a low cost compared to an actual clinic. Online pharmacies that sell HCG without a prescription often do not actually provide you with a useable product, and it is often dangerous to use these products simply because you don't know what is actually in them. Also remember that a very low calorie diet will work to some extent no matter what type of hormone product that you use, simply because of the fact that you will have a calorie deficit, but real, pharmaceutical grade HCG will make the diet much easier on your body as well as safer, but other products cannot provide that same level of safety at all.

Don't be afraid to try the HCG diet

If you need to lose weight, you shouldn't be afraid to try the HCG diet because of the fact that certain HCG diet products are illegal. Remember that the FDA was only targeting companies that were selling homeopathic HCG products and products that claimed to contain HCG in them without a medical prescription, not medical providers and clinics that prescribed the HCG diet. The diet still is one of the best, fastest and safest ways to lose a large amount of weight, and it is even far safer than many of the dangerous prescription drugs, surgery and other obesity treatments that are available as "€œmainstream"€ methods of weight control. You should simply avoid any company that offers you the ability to buy HCG without a medical consultation or that continues to sell any type of homeopathic HCG product. If you are interested in purchasing HCG from a licensed medical facility at an affordable cost now, click here to speak to a representative at Nu Image Medical today.

About the author

Dr. Constance Odom, MD

7 min read