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December 2019

Versicherungsmedizin. 1992 Feb; 44(1): 22-9.

[Legal evaluation of paramedical treatment. Comment from the medical viewpoint. Special therapy approaches--reservations about drug safety]

Oepen I.

Institut für Rechtsmedizin der Universität, Marburg.

In 1976, the term of "special therapy methods", denoting homoeopathy, anthroposophical medicine, and phytotherapy, was incorporated into the German law concerning pharmaceutical preparations. This led to judicial consequences with regard to payment of costs by assistance and social insurance bodies. Among judgments delivered, there were also some regarding Voll's electro acupuncture and treatment with nosodes or thymus extracts. Reasons given by courts for deciding in the claimant's favour were: doubts concerning the meaning of "general scientific agreement" about a certain method as well as regarding the socalled "medical science clause" of social private insurance authorities, and competence of medical experts. Furthermore, special effects were wrongly attributed to these methods. On the other hand, reasons for refusal of claims were: lack of general scientific acknowledgment of a method and negligence of available conventional treatment possibilities. In the commentary, it is stated that refunding of costs for nonconventional medical treatment is neither justified nor helpful, because it favours power struggle, sectarianism, and envourages quackery and charlatans. It is to be hoped that forthcoming mutual harmonizing of EC rules will, in the true interest of patients, favour acceptance of uniform practice and criteria.

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