Political breakthrough in complementary medicine

CAM conference in the European Parliament: "Politically a breakthrough"

The first “CAM Conference” took place in the European Parliament in October, at which the importance of complementary medicine in European health care was discussed. Under the title "Complementary and Alternative Medicine - innovation and Added Value for European Healthcare", scientists from all over Europe provided information about the benefits and possibilities of complementary medicine. The importance of complementary medicine is growing, particularly in the treatment of patients with chronic diseases.

Around 70 percent of the medical costs in developed industrial countries now account for chronic diseases such as hypertension, heart diseases, diabetes mellitus, arthritis, bronchial asthma or depression. Conventional medicine, however, offers only a few curative therapeutic approaches to the chronically ill. Against the background of the demographic change and the high burden on the health systems of chronically ill people, the German Central Association of Homeopathic Doctors (DZVhÄ) welcomes the CAM conference in the European Parliament as a clear signal that the topic has reached the awareness of the European health policy. "Alternative and complementary medicine is an important health policy issue for Europe, as well as for Germany, which is still underestimated," explains Cornelia Bajic, first chairwoman of the DZVhÄ. "Politicians are asked to create the necessary framework conditions in order to provide patients with uncomplicated access to effective CAM procedures such as homeopathy." The conference was hosted by three parliamentarians from the European Parliament, the event was financed by the European Commission and the Directorate General Health and consumers.

On the cost-effectiveness of CAM procedures Claudia Witt from the Charité in Berlin described the results of a systematic review in Brussels on the costs and cost-effectiveness of complementary medicine. Accordingly, about a third of the high-quality economic evaluations of non-pharmacological treatments show a higher benefit at a lower cost compared to conventional medical treatment. This has scientifically refuted the often-shared statement that CAM therapies only increased costs without creating any additional benefit. However, generalized statements on the cost-benefit ratio of complementary medicine therapy methods cannot be derived from the review, because only individual therapy methods were examined and not the complementary medicine as a whole.

"There has never been so much obvious support in Europe" The CAM conference was moderated by Harald Walach, professor for research methodology of complementary medicine at the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder). "There has never been so much obvious support for complementary medicine in Europe," explains Wallach. He refers to the European project CAMbrella. This three-year project, funded by the EU with 1.5 million euros, is coordinated by the Center for Naturopathic Research at the Clinic of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and does not conduct its own research. Rather, it should build up a network of European research institutions in the field of complementary medicine and promote their international cooperation. A special edition of the journal “Researching Complementary Medicine” summarizes why, how and where complementary medicine is researched in Europe.

According to Walach, CAMbrella is a sign that “politicians have now understood that they are not dealing with a marginal phenomenon.” His conclusion: “The conference was a political breakthrough and an important sign, because it documents: There is one here Topic that politicians have become aware of because it is important for citizens. ”The conference ended with a 4-page“ Call for Action ”to the EU Commission, the EU Parliament and the EU member states on equal access Promote CAM therapies in the EU and standardize information on CAM methods and providers to facilitate cross-border treatment for EU citizens. The paper can be downloaded from the ECH website: www.homeopathyeurope.org> Media (pm)

Image: Paul-Georg Meister / pixelio.de

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