The homeopathy exception

By Misch Pautsch Switch to German for original article

There is no proof that homeopathy works beyond the placebo effect. Nevertheless, the remedies are reimbursed by the CNS in Luxembourg. It is the only group of medicines that does not have to prove an effect by law. Why? And what purpose do they possibly serve anyway?

"Homeopathy is pouring a bottle of coke into the Moselle in Remich, and later scooping a glass out of it in Trier and announcing that you have found the quintessence of coke." Dr Martine Mergen (CSV) recalls this statement with a smile, which she attributes to a former general secretary of the Doctors‘ and Dentists’ Union (AMMD). The doctor was the only MP who, on the 2nd of December 2004, "consistently" voted against the law that allowed homeopathic remedies to be included on the positive list of medicines ‒ and thus to this day have to be partially reimbursed by the National Health Fund (CNS).

The short law, which Mergen "would still vote against today" makes you look twice: "By way of derogation from the provisions of Article 23(1), homeopathic single remedies prepared from a herbal, mineral or chemical original substance […] may be included in the positive list". This Article 23 defines the minimum requirements for medicines to be reimbursable: "The benefits provided by the health insurance fund […] must correspond as much as possible to the state of health of the insured person. They must not go beyond what is useful and necessary and must be provided with the strictest economy compatible with the effectiveness of the treatment and in accordance with the findings of science and medical professional ethics".

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