Anaximperator blog

Blogging against alternative cancer treatments

Switzerland to insert CAM in the constitution?

CAMOn 17 May 2009 the Swiss people voted in favour of a constitutional article for complementary medicine in a national vote. 67 percent of voters supported the new constitutional article. Switzerland is the first country in Europe to set out in the constitution, authority for the state and constituent states (cantons) to take complementary medicine into consideration in the public health service.

The complementary medicine sector, including doctors, therapists, manufacturers and specialized traders, then launched and brought about a national popular initiative. This enables Swiss voters to obtain a popular vote for a constitutional amendment if they collect 100,000 valid signatures within 18 months.

Parliament availed itself of its right to oppose the proposers’ constitutional article and suggest a slightly diluted form. Since parliament’s counterproposal adopted all the core demands on a legal level, the original popular initiative was withdrawn. Therefore, the people only had to vote on a constitutional article, which, experience has shown, increases the chances of them voting in favour. Particularly because parliament and the government support the parliamentary proposal. On 17 May 2009, Swiss voters clearly approved the constitutional article proposed by parliament. The majority of voters per canton also voted in favour, which is likewise a prerequisite for any constitutional amendment.

In accordance with the referendum, the Swiss Federal constitution will be expanded by the following article:

Federal constitution Art. 118a BV (new):

The Federal government and cantons shall ensure that, within the scope of their jurisdiction, complementary medicine is taken into consideration.

Definite need for action

On this constitutional basis, parliament and the authorities have to implement the following requirements:
1. Admission of doctors of complementary medicine in the fields of anthroposophical medicine, homeopathy, neural therapy, phytotherapy and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) into obligatory health insurance.
2. Creation of national diplomas for non-medical therapists.
3. Integration of complementary medicine into teaching and research.
4. Safeguarding of proven remedies.

Pascal CouchepinHealth minister Pascal Couchepin, who is not in favour of the funding of CAM-treatments through obligatory health insurance, in 2005 has taken CAM out of the compensation for the basic package. This prompted CAM-professionals and manufacturers of alternative medicine to launch a massive promotional campaign, resulting in the referendum of May 17.

According to government-rules, in the interest of its contributors treatments compensated through obligatory health insurance must have been shown to be effective, useful and evidence based.  Couchepin has asked providers of CAM-treatments to provide the government with this evidence by October 2009, so that it can be assessed by the government’s advisory committees. The final decision of the government will then take place in the spring of 2010.

fritschi_joergJörg Fritschi, president of the Union of CAM-organizations in Switzerland, has said that his organizations need sufficient time to collect all the relevant information and does not expect them to be able to hand over the files any sooner than the spring of 2010.

12 responses to “Switzerland to insert CAM in the constitution?

  1. beatis May 20, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    treatments compensated through obligatory health insurance must have been shown to be effective, useful and evidence based. Couchepin has asked providers of CAM-treatments to provide the government with this evidence by October 2009

    (Bold by me).

    Now, that is what we’re all waiting for…

  2. jli May 22, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Yes, but it complicates things a bit that when treatments are shown to be effective, useful and evidence based, they have a tendency to become mainstream. The CAM-providers seem to have an interest in that whatever they provide doesn´t become evidence based.😉

  3. jli May 24, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    An important point to be made is that testimonials are not evidence. Hopefully Couchepin knows that.

  4. Bram Hengeveld June 1, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    In the next year or two, Fritschi is going to do what the entire alternative movement wasn’t able to do in the past one hundred years.

    Now that’s the spirit! Where does he get such chi!?

  5. beatis June 1, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    Makes you wonder why he wasn’t able to work up this chi a little bit sooner.😦

  6. Chris June 23, 2009 at 8:41 am

    You should cherish the opportunity to be potentially free to treat cancer sufferers to full recovery and avoid the mandatory slash/burn,poison ” treatments ” that we endure in USA and Australia.
    The big pharma is a parasite feeding off Governments funds and killing people.

  7. beatis June 23, 2009 at 9:18 am

    @ Chris,

    I challenge you to provide us with the evidence that people can be cured of cancer by alternative treatments.

    If you want to follow alternative treatments for cancer, you can do so, nobody is stopping you. But anyone who claims alternative treatments can cure cancer, has to come up with decent evidence or keep quiet. Personally, I have just about had it with all the fairy tales being told to people suffering from cancer; I’ve seen people die needlessly because of their belief in them.

    Also, I find your expression “slash/burn, poison” extremely callous and insulting towards people who have undergone these treatments or are still undergoing them now.

  8. wilmamazone June 23, 2009 at 10:52 am

    @ Chris

    I also find your expression “slash/burn, poison” extremely callous and insulting towards people who have undergone these treatments or are still undergoing them now or have to start them in short time.

  9. evenarsenicisnatural June 23, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Chris –

    So it’s better to be a snake-oil peddler, flogging the same-old altie propaganda crap? Hmmm?

    Got any spare bridges to sell?

  10. Chris June 23, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    Some of you live in the medical Matrix.
    You have no idea whatsoever, that cancer can be dealt with simple diet change and supplements.
    This writer has experienced it all.
    After being diagnosed with stage 4 rectal cancer and almost killed by chemo, I had to educate myself and as a result I am still here fitter then ever.
    Go to http://www.b17.com.au and see for yourself.

  11. beatis June 24, 2009 at 4:47 am

    Ah, Laetrile – one of the biggest scams ever in medical history: http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/Cancer/laetrile.html.
    You say you also had chemotherapy for your cancer… *sigh*

  12. cryptocheilus June 24, 2009 at 8:20 am

    Here’s some more on Laetrile/Amygdalin .
    http://tinyurl.com/mapj2o

    Laetrile has shown little anticancer activity in animal studies and no anticancer activity in human clinical trials.

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