Spain declares war on alternative healthcare

The Spanish government has moved to ban alternative medicine from all health centres to avoid the ‘potential harmful effects’ of such practices. Here’s what you need to know.

Science and health ministers in Spain have put forward a proposal to eliminate all alternative healthcare in health centres, where all treatment must be given by recognised medical professionals.

The plan also proposes that alternative medicine should not be taught in Spanish universities. To do this, the government will seek to form alliances with university deans, chancellors and regional authorities to stop diplomas for alternative healthcare being awarded. If you wish to read the full plan, click here (in Spanish).

What is regarded as alternative medicine?

The aim is to ban practices that are not scientifically proven but are used as an alternative or a complement to treatment that is based on ‘proof and scientific rigour’. The plan does make clear what it regards these practices to be, but the examples of acupuncture and homeopathy are given.

Why do they want to ban it?

The proposal was sparked by a big call for action from hundreds of scientists and health professionals following a high profile case where a cancer patient died after refusing traditional treatment and turning to alternative medicine. As the government has stated, these alternative practices ‘negatively affect health by perpetuating illnesses, causing others, or even increasing the risk of death’.

Give your opinion

The government has made it clear that the plan is still open to suggestions and recommendations from all relevant sectors; health professionals, regional governments, university professors and the scientific community. If you wish to offer any suggestions, don’t hesitate to reach out.