The effectiveness of homeopathy is largely unproven. For this reason, Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach wants to examine the payment of homeopathic treatments by health insurance companies. This won’t be a walk in the park for him.
Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach wants to review the financing of homeopathic treatments by statutory health insurance companies. “Although homeopathy is not significant in terms of the volume of expenditure, it has no place in a science-based health policy,” the SPD politician told the “Spiegel”. “We will therefore examine whether homeopathy can be deleted as a statutory service.”
Statutory benefits are benefits that health insurance companies can grant in addition to the statutory benefits. Some health insurance companies offer the reimbursement of homeopathic medicines as a statutory benefit.
There is no evidence that homeopathy is effective
Homeopathic medicines can be based on herbal, mineral or animal substances. The extremely diluted substances are administered, for example, in the form of small balls (globules). The scientific consensus is that no effect has been proven for homeopathic treatments that goes beyond the placebo effect.
In this context, the Federal Ministry of Health refers to the trend of recent years: According to data from the Federal Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry, both prescriptions and sales of homeopathic preparations in statutory health insurance are declining. While health insurers spent almost nine million euros on homeopathic services such as anamnesis and medicines in 2019, in 2020 it was only 6.7 million euros.
Lauterbach had already criticized homeopathy in the past due to the lack of scientific evidence. In March, Lauterbach welcomed the decision of the German Medical Association via Twitter that medical associations should no longer offer further training in homeopathy in the future. In 2019, when he was still a member of the Bundestag, he called for health insurance companies to be banned from co-financing homeopathy. As Minister of Health, Lauterbach had so far kept a low profile in this regard.
Resistance is to be expected from the ranks of the Greens, who are at odds over homeopathy. The FDP, on the other hand, is also demanding that homeopathic remedies should no longer be paid for by statutory health insurance funds in the future.