Government aims to avoid ‘harmful effects’ caused by acupuncture and homeopathy
The Spanish government has announced plans to eradicate alternative medicine such as acupuncture or homeopathy from health centres.
The proposal, unveiled by the science and health ministers, aims to avoid the “potential harmful effects” of the practices when they are used as an alternative or a complement to treatment that is itself based on “proof and scientific rigour”, the government said in a statement.
It did not make clear what it regarded as alternative medicine, but gave the examples of acupuncture and homeopathy. “Many people still believe that some treatments work despite there being no scientific proof available,” the statement said.
The government said it wanted to eliminate alternative medicine from health centres, where all treatment must be given by recognised professionals.
It also wants to avoid alternative medicine being taught in Spanish universities by developing alliances with deans, chancellors or Spanish regional authorities to end the awarding of diplomas linked to these practices.
The issue has taken centre stage in Spain recently, with health and science professionals pressuring the health ministry to take action after several high-profile deaths.
One such case, as reported by Spain’s Association to Protect Patients against Pseudo-scientific Therapies, involved 21-year-old Mario Rodriguez, who died after stopping his hospital treatment for leukemia in favour of a supposed naturopath who said he could cure cancer with vitamins.
“Dad, I made a mistake,” his father, Julian Rodriguez, quoted him as saying on his deathbed.