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October 2021

Commentary on Sommer et al. A randomized experiment of the effects of including alternative medicine in the mandatory benefit package of health insurance '

Abstract: The study by Sommer et al. recently reported in Complementary Therapies in Medicine has been heavily criticised in Switzerland since its original publication. Its major problems are an inadequate reflection of real practice, an inadequate study design relative to the central research objective, questionable value of the applied instrument and procedure for health assessment, methodological and statistical problems, and failure to consider literature relevant to the topic. For these reasons, this experimental study does not allow an answer to its central questions as to costs and effectiveness of complementary medicine made available within Switzerland's mandatory basic health insurance provisions. We propose more practice-related, non-experimental prospective study designs to realistically answer these questions.

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