French patients alarmed by progressive sidelining of complementary medicine despite popular demand.
Brussels, December 02, 2020
On 6th November a group of French patients launched a petition calling for access to complementary medicines to remain a part of the mainstream French healthcare system. Despite its demonstrable benefit to patients, complementary medicine has been side-lined by campaigns of misinformation. In France, this has meant that complementary treatments are increasingly not reimbursed by the health system, causing alarm from patients that rely on these medicines that access to them will become a luxury available only to a few. The International Federation of Anthroposophic Medical Associations (IVAA) fully supports the French Patient Petition, which calls on the French government to support availability of objective information on complementary care for patients and practitioners and to support equitable access to complementary medicines.
“IVAA fully supports the French patient petition, which is fully in-line with WHO’s goal to integrate complementary medicine into health care systems,” says Dr. Thomas Breitkreuz, President of the IVAA. “It is difficult to understand why complementary medicine is so controversial in France when it has been so successfully integrated in other European countries such as Germany or Switzerland.”
The petition lays out evidence, including several peer-reviewed studies, for the value-add of complementary medicine, the most common in France being homeopathy, acupuncture, phytotherapy, manual medicine, and anthroposophic medicine. An example is Viscum album, the most prescribed complementary treatment for oncology patients in Europe. Viscum album has been shown to improve the quality of life of oncology patients including by increasing tolerance to chemotherapy, as supported by search data available on PubMed, which lists 444 references since 2003, 52 clinical studies worldwide, as well as approximately 32 randomized studies, and eleven systematic reviews published between 2003 and 2020. All of them demonstrate the safety and efficacy of Viscum album. The patients in particular call attention to the importance of complementary treatments for chronic illnesses such as chronic fatigue and pain, anxiety and depression and sleep disorders.
The IVAA, or International Federation of Anthroposophic Medical Associations, promotes the recognition of Anthroposophic Medicine and its implementation in health care systems. Our vision is a world where the benefits of anthroposophic medicine are widely recognised, and where patients and doctors have ready access to complementary anthroposophic medicines and treatments that improve healthcare outcomes.