Spain – Homeopathy criticism now also government official

Lesedauer / Reading Time: 3 min

We had reported that on 22 June this year, the Madrid Medical Association, de facto the supreme medical association of Spain, issued a very clear declaration against the use of homeopathy in medical practice and referred to the medical obligations in the Code of Ethics of the Spanish Medical Profession.

Now this position is also government official: The Spanish health minister María Luisa Carcedo is quoted by the portal La Vanguardia: ” I will fight the pseudoscience, and homeopathy belongs to it.

The image shows Mrs Maris Luisa Carcedo, Spanish health minister, in her office room
Maria Luisa Carcedo, Spanish health minister

The decisive part of the interview with Minister Carcedo at La Vanguardia translated:

“Q: What about the healers, charlatans and miracle sellers?

A: We will take it up. We’ve had the prosecution take up the use of chlorine bleach as a cure for autism, and we will continue to do so with other things. As soon as we identify a situation that could pose a threat to public health, we will report it. It is our duty as health authorities to take action against those who want to do business at the expense of naivety or by exploiting the faith of part of the population.

Q: Do you include homeopathy in the pseudosciences?

A: Homeopathy is an “alternative therapy” that is not scientifically proven.

Q: More than 600 health professionals have appealed to you to respect their right (within the framework of freedom of therapy) to use homeopathy.

A: Health facilities have a duty to use products with proven efficacy, i.e. medicines that have undergone rigorous clinical trials and criteria. When homeopathic medicinal products provide scientific evidence, they are considered as such. This is not the case at present.

Q: Will you remove homeopathy from pharmacies, propose an increase in VAT … ? What are you going to do?

A: We are working with the Ministry of Science on a strategy to combat pseudosciences. Once this strategy is in place, we will present measures on individual methods/means, but it is clear that it is urgent to raise public awareness and show which products are useful and which are not, and to explain the damage that the decision for an alternative therapy can do.

Most remarkable. Even more noteworthy is a message from the French news channel Franceinfo (in France the discussion about homeopathy in health care is also intensively underway) on its homepage:

“The Spanish Ministry of Health has asked manufacturers (of homeopathic remedies) to subject their products to the same efficacy tests as other medicines.

The debate on homeopathy is cross-border. This is confirmed by Spain’s recent decision. The Spanish Ministry of Health now requires homeopathic manufacturers to subject their products to the same authorisation procedure as conventional medicines so that they can be indicated. If manufacturers refuse, they must indicate on the packaging that the therapeutic effect of the treatment has not been demonstrated. This is an opportunity for homeopathy to have its efficacy recognised. (sic!)”

So, words are very quickly followed by deeds.

In Germany, too, an indication may only be advertised in the case of a marketing authorisation, not a simple registration. However, the Spanish regulation still goes further: The “authorisation procedure” of Commission D at the German BfArM does not necessarily require a science-based authorisation procedure as with “normal” pharmaceutical medicinal products, but also makes an “authorisation” possible in an “internal consensus”. In addition, the positive labelling obligation as a therapeutically unproven means would clearly go beyond the German regulations. The Spanish rules are roughly equivalent to the stricter regulations of the FTC (the consumer protection authority) in the USA since 2017. Approvals based on scientifically valid proof of efficacy are unlikely. One considers: The demand for scientifically proven proofs of efficacy would – transferred to Germany – be tantamount to a lifting of the internal consensus and would make the reimbursability by statutory health insurance funds de facto invalid via the social code!

All we have left is our usual “Ceterum censeo”:

Where is the reaction of the German health system, politics, the medical profession and the other players in self-administration in the health system? To say it once again emphatically: The (scientific) debate about homeopathy is over! And it should be added: The health-political probably also soon – with exception of Germany?!?

Picture credits: La Vanguardia