Belgian Government Legislates To Restrict the Availability of Homeopathy to Its Citizens

A recent decree by the Belgian Ministry of Health sabotages the practice of homeopathy in Belgium.

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Courtesy the European Central Council of Homeopaths (ECCH)

http://www.homeopathy-ecch.org/

On 29 April 1999, in line with the international and national recommendations on complementary and alternative medical (CAM) therapies expressed by bodies such as the Council of Europe and the European Parliament, the Belgian Parliament voted in the Colla Law in order to initially regulate practitioners of four of the most popular CAM practices in Belgium: acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy and osteopathy.

In the years to follow professional bodies for these practices were founded and accredited by the Ministry of Health, among which the Liga Homeopathica Classica was established for homeopathy. The Liga established high standards for the education and professional profile of homeopaths in line with the guidelines of the European Central Council of Homeopaths in preparation for an eventual specific legal framework for the profession.

Eventually, after legal pressure was brought to bear, the Ministry of Health set up 4 commissions, one for each practice, in order to establish the specific details concerning the regulation of the four disciplines. Unfortunately the homeopathy commission was neither democratically constituted, nor did they include adequate representation of the most important interest of all, patients and citizens.

On May 2014 in Belgium, a Royal Decree was published by the Ministry of Health that completely denies the autonomy of the profession of the homeopath and deprives Belgian patients of their freedom of choice to have homeopathic treatment now and into the future. The final conditions established to be legally allowed to practise homeopathy are:

 

1. Practitioners have to be qualified as a medical doctor, dentist or midwife,

thereby instantly denying the many homeopathy practitioners in Belgium who have practised for many years and paid into the Belgian taxation system the right to their livelihood.

2. Have a degree in homeopathy from an official college or university. Nobody in Belgium meets this second condition because homeopathy up until now was only taught in private schools, whether to practitioners or medical doctors. Moreover, the deans of the faculties of medicine have recently declared that homeopathy does not belong in a medical curriculum and they refuse to allow it to be taught at their universities. This means that in the future no-one, doctors included, will be able to undertake the required education to be able to practise homeopathy as required by the Law.

A further stipulation states that doctors, dentists and midwives can only prescribe homeopathy for indications for which efficacy is evidence-based. This practically reduces the practice of homeopathy to ‘clinical homeopathy’ based only on a medical diagnosis, and leaves no room for the holistic and individualised approach of homeopathy that was originally meant to be the ‘added value’ of integrating CAM practices in health care.

We regret that Health Minster Mme Onkelinx and the Belgian Government have missed the opportunity to realise the primary objectives of the Colla Law and the spirit in which it was written, and in effect to have completely negated them. In doing so they are completely ignoring the many voices of patients who now cannot consult the homeopath they choose. This reactionary piece of legislation stands in direct contrast to the far more constructive and progressive piece of legislation introduced in Portugal in 2013 that regulates 7 CAM therapies including homeopathy, setting high standards for their education and practice.  (Lei 71/2013)

It is ECCH’s view that this unjust execution of the Colla Law must be fought and overturned. To do this we are supporting the call of our Belgian colleagues for financial support to build a legal fighting fund.

If you believe the Belgian government have got it wrong, please help. Donations to the fighting fund can be transferred to the bank account of the Liga Homeopathica Classica in Belgium: IBAN : BE 75 777 59279 3651  BIC : GKCCBEBB, entitled ‘Help for classical homeopathy’ 

About the author

ECCH

ECCH

The European Central Council of Homeopaths (ECCH) is the professional platform of the homeopathy profession in Europe. ECCH works to ensure that patients have access to high quality homeopathic treatment. ECCH is registered as a non-profit making unincorporated association in the United Kingdom. ECCH is currently made up of 27 national associations of homeopaths in 24 countries.

3 Comments

  • mmmm, having discussed these issues with a homeopathic vet colleague of mine this WE (Who is involved at the top of all this) I think this scaremongering is not needed, the situation is much more nuanced than explained in this article. The LAW is not perfect but it is a good base to built on.

  • While I respect your opinion, mine is on the opposite side of the fence!

    If this happened in my country I would be EXTREMELY upset.

    It’s not clear to me though: does homeopathy fall under a national healthcare program (like in some European countries) that pay for homeopathic care, or is it a patient pay only alternative to allopathy?

    There must be millions of patients whose voices have been silenced. I hope they stand up and speak up for CHOICE.

  • Another question: are patients in Belgium also “restricted” from self-pay and care via Skype/e-mail with, for example, practitioners in India, USA, South America or other countries where their governments have some respect for a patient’s CHOICE?

    From what organization/lobbying group/right wing group/corporate entity or other “group” that wants to restrict the personal right of CHOICE to allopathy only?

    Is this one of those corporate drug maker global efforts to create more profits and less CHOICE for world citizens?

    Sigh…

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