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European Coalition on Homeopathic & Anthroposophic Medicinal Products

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Parliamentary petition for homeopathy in Austria

26 Oct 2016

30,000 Austrians have signed a parliamentary petition calling for homeopathy to be covered by  medical insurance; the petition has been handed over to Doris Bures, President of the National Council of Austria, the lower house of the Austrian Parliament.

This citizens’ initiative builds on the findings of a 2012 study that found that 50% of Austrians use homeopathic medicines and that 60% of Austrian women trust these medicines.

The petition organisers argue that the legal status of these products in Austria is out of step with the experience of hundreds of thousands of satisfied patients. Homeopathic medicines are treated as scientifically unproven in Austria at present, which means that they cannot be reimbursed by medical insurance. The petition is calling for a ten year test to assess and evaluate the benefits and cost savings of including homeopathy in the treatments covered by medical insurance. It is also calling for better recognition and integration of homeopathy in the Austrian health system, support for the integration of homeopathy and complementary medicine in the education of medical students and financial support for research into homeopathy.

This mirrors the Swiss citizens’ initiative which led to a referendum in 2009, in which two thirds of Swiss backed the inclusion of homeopathy and anthroposophic medicine on the constitutional list of paid health services, leading to the announcement in March 2016 that the Swiss government intends to ensure that treatment costs for these and other therapies will continue to be reimbursed by compulsory health insurance on a par with other medical disciplines. It echoes the strong and growing demand for these medicines in the majority of EU Member States. It is hoped that this new Austrian initiative will send a strong signal, not just to the Austrian government but to other EU decision makers, of the value that patients and consumers place on these therapeutic systems.

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