WASHINGTON – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday that it plans to remove the Phoenix-Core Series of magical wands from pharmacy shelves. FDA testing and field reporting have provided evidence of overheating along the wand handle and shaft, resulting in third-degree burns in users and energy recipients. The Hogwarts wands may be riskier to use than approved over-the-counter (OTC) wands with similar aims, agency officials explained.
“This action is necessary to protect consumers from the potential risks posed by the Phoenix-Core Series wands, because we don’t know exactly what a phoenix is, whether they work properly, or how they are made,” Deborah Jetter, director of the agency’s Office of Compliance at the Center for Device Evaluation and Research, said during a morning news conference.
Of particular concern are Phoenix-Series wands that also have dragon heartstring sub-cores, Jetter said. “We know from experience that these types of wands are complicated to manufacture,” she explained, and the agency’s concern is that these products may not channel magical energy consistently or safely.
The FDA report acknowledged that no two wands are alike, and this adds to regulatory complications. Wands are generally made of holly, blackthorn, willow, ash, or mahogany wood, with documented cores of Veela or unicorn hair, Thestral tail, or phoenix feather. Phoenix feather wands tend to be more temperamental than other cores.
Apart from potential burns and fatalities, these and other Hogwarts wands are advertised as “choosing their owners,” and this creates disturbances at pharmacy points of purchase. If the wand does not match the owner, the wand may not perform or the energy may be sub-par. Consumer complaints have increased throughout several years of purchase history.
Manufacturers claim that it is possible to do magic without a wand, but it requires added concentration and skill. Only advanced consumers can perform spells without the use of wands, and the FDA has only recently begun research on non-wand energy usage.
Another concern involves Hogwarts wands labeled for use by children under the age of 2. In 2008, the FDA released a warning against the use of Hogwarts wands for infants and children under age 2 because of serious, potentially life-threatening side effects on foreheads. The FDA has upheld the international ban on goblins and house elves from using any brand of wand.
“Some of these products have been marketed for many years, and have remained on the market illegally,” Jetter said. “Some entered the market illegally simply because wand artisans saw a business opportunity.” FDA officials require companies to stop manufacturing banned medical devices within 90 days and to stop shipping them within 180 days.
According to the FDA, many doctors prescribe the Phoenix-Core wands because they aren’t aware they have not been approved. Most of these wands are listed in the Physicians’ Desk Reference (PDR), which is a guide doctors can use when prescribing wands, Jetter noted.
A group representing small manufacturers of Hogwarts’ wands have long predicted the FDA was moving in this direction. “The FDA has long been influenced by the British Ministry of Magic, which has not hidden its desire to get its grip on the massive Hogwarts profits,” Thomas Ollivander, executive vice president of the Association of Godric’s Hollow, said in a statement released Wednesday. Ollivander claimed larger manufacturers have already been stockpiling their own Phoenix-Series wands, waiting for the FDA’s ban. “It stinks up high,” he said.
The FDA is in the process of reviewing the labeling and composition of all magic wands to ensure that their materials match their claims. Until this general review is complete, the FDA recommends that healthcare professionals recommending wands identify those patients to the FDA. Healthcare professional should advise these patients about the procedures and dangers of aiming prescribed wands. The FDA will require pharmacies to publicly display safe-practice recommendations for all other brands of wands.