Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Makers would have to prove they're safe and effective

WebMD News from HealthDay

FDA Wants Tighter Rules on Antibacterial Soaps, Body Washes

By Steven Reinberg

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Monday that it wants makers of antibacterial hand soaps and body washes to prove their products are safe for long-term daily use and more effective than regular soaps in preventing illness and the spread of certain infections.

Unless companies can do that, they would have to reformulate or re-label these products if they want to keep them on the market, the agency said.

"Millions of Americans use antibacterial soaps and body washes," Dr. Sandra Kweder, deputy director of the FDA's Office of New Drugs, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said during a morning press briefing.

"They are used every day at home, at work, at schools and in other public settings where the risk of bacterial infection is relatively low," she said. "We at the FDA believe there should be clearly demonstrated benefits from using antibacterial soaps to balance any potential risk."

Kweder said the FDA has not been provided with data that shows these products are "any more effective at preventing people from getting sick than washing with plain soap and water."

The agency's proposed rule would require makers of these products to justify their health claims with firm evidence of their benefit, she said.

"Manufacturers would be required to conduct clinical trials that demonstrate that their products are more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness or the spread of certain infections," Kweder said.

"Manufacturers would also be required to provide additional safety data for these products before they can be considered generally recognized as safe for use," she added.

There's some data that long-term exposure to certain ingredients used in these products, such as triclosan (liquid soaps) and triclocarban (bar soaps), could promote bacterial resistance or have effects on hormones. These hormones include estrogen, testosterone and thyroid hormones, Kweder explained.

She said that "reformulating would mean that companies would have to remove the antibacterial active ingredient, and relabeling would mean removal of the antibacterial claim from the product's label," she said.

Brush Up on Beauty

URAC: Accredited Health Web Site TRUSTe online privacy certification HONcode Seal AdChoices