SPANISH Ministry of Universal and Public Health has sent an instruction to all health departments to remind them that homeopathy is excluded from the portfolio of national health services. Furthermore, it outlaws practices described as pseudoscience and their promotion and development in public health centres.
In addition, Health Minister Carmen Montón has sent a letter to the Valencian Health Authorities to request that homeopathic medicines be withdrawn as granted by Royal Legislative Decree 1/2015.
“Good medical practice is linked to scientific evidence and we must clearly differentiate between products that have evidence-based medicine support rather than those products and practices that have not proved their effectiveness”, said Carmen Montón.
The official list of activities that are not considered as health care include naturopathic medicine, naturopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutritional therapy or vitamin treatments.
Also excluded are manipulation and body-based practices, osteopathy, chiropractic, lymphatic drainage, reflexology, shiatsu or aromatherapy, mind and body techniques, yoga, meditation, prayer, kinesiology, hypnotherapy, sophistry, art therapy, energy-based techniques, Qi-Gong or Chi-Kung, Reiki, floral therapy, biomagnetic therapy and any other similar activity.
Apart from the instruction, the Ministry has asked to withdraw recognition of homeopathy as a medicine. “The available scientific evidence concludes that homeopathy has not proved its efficacy in any particular clinical situation,” it states, adding that “considering homeopathy as a medicine represents a real risk that directly influences the protection and restoration of health and may lead to their use in place of recognised and proven medicinal products”.
This decision in Spain comes in the same week that NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens described homeopathy as “at best a placebo and a misuse of scarce NHS funds”. Over the last five years it has cost the NHS at least £578,000 for treatments using heavily diluted forms of plants, herbs and minerals. NHS England says there is no “robust evidence” homeopathy works at all and has launched a consultation to stop GPs prescribing it.
Plans first announced back in March of this year have been confirmed to make UK NHS patients pay for items available cheaply in supermarkets and chemists.