Medic: Homeopathy an important addition

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The President of the German Medical Association considers homeopathy to be an important aid.

The President of the German Medical Association, Prof. Dr. med. Jörg-Dietrich Hoppe, pronounced. Hoppe said to the Tagesspiegel: "Although the effects of homeopathic remedies cannot be scientifically proven, homeopathy has nevertheless become an important branch in the training of doctors". SPD and CDU politicians had sparked a debate about alternative medicine. The meaning and benefits of homeopathic medicines are currently being debated. The SPD health politician Karl Lauterbach had called for a general ban on homeopathy as cash benefits. In future, insured persons should pay for homeopathic therapies themselves without subsidies. CDU politicians had agreed to Lauterbach.

The President of the German Medical Association Hoppe, however, speaks out against such a ban. Rather, he relies on the interaction of naturopathy and conventional medicine. "Globuli are particularly successful in the treatment of mental disorders such as travel sickness or sensitivity to the weather." In addition, naturopathy would serve well in terms of prevention. This also includes a detailed medical history discussion between the doctor and the patient. "The patients feel safe and secure," argues Hoppe, "that makes diagnosis and the healing process easier."

Doctors also cannot understand the economic aspect mentioned. Because patients who are open to naturopathic treatment are generally healthier and cause less costs for health insurance companies, according to the argument of the German Central Association of Homeopathic Doctors. Homeopathy is not a "luxury medicine" because the remedies are generally cheaper than conventional medicine. In-depth discussions avoid expensive costs such as laboratory tests. If there is a general ban on homeopathy as a health insurance benefit, it will particularly affect low earners. If the health insurance benefits were abolished, "it will only affect the poorer," said the President of the German Medical Association.

The current debate about the costs of health insurance companies in the field of homeopathy is like a sham debate. Because the costs for homeopathic remedies and naturopathic therapies were just a fraction of the expenses for pharmaceuticals last year. In total, health insurance companies spent around 28 billion euros on medicines in 2009. The share of naturopathy was just 32 million euros a year. In addition, only half of the health insurance companies grant an additional payment for homeopathy. Many of them only as an additional benefit, for which the insured have to pay a higher insurance contribution. If homeopathic treatments were to be canceled, they would have to be replaced by "expensive medicine," says Hoppe. In comparison, homeopathic remedies are much cheaper than conventional medicines.

Prof. Jörg-Dietrich Hoppe has been President of the German Medical Association (BÄK) since 1999. From 1982 to 2006, Hoppe worked as chief physician at the Institute of Pathology at Düren Hospital. Since then, Hoppe has worked as a resident pathologist in the institute and in the practice group for pathology at Düren Hospital. In addition, Prof. Hoppe has been teaching at the Institute of Forensic Medicine and - as an honorary professor - at the Medical Faculty of the University of Cologne for many years. (sb)

Also read:
What is naturopathy?
Interview: Strange "expert opinion" on homeopathy
Health insurance: no more homeopathy benefits?
Homeopathy: No more cash benefits soon?

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