EPO clarifies practice in the area of plant and animal patents

Press release, The Hague / Munich, 29 June 2017

On a proposal of the European Patent Office its Administrative Council took a decision to amend the relevant Regulations in order to exclude from patentability plants and animals exclusively obtained by an essentially biological breeding process.

Press release

Complementary medicine in Switzerland now a mandatory health insurance service

Press release of 16 June 2017

The Swiss Federal Government announces that specific medical services using complementary med- icine are to be covered by mandatory health insurance (basic insurance). The Swiss Umbrella Association for Complementary Medicine and the Union of Associations of Swiss Physicians for Comple-mentary Medicine welcome this decision. It implements one of the key demands of the constitutional referendum held on 17 May 2009. With this decision, the Swiss Federal Council is acknowledging that complementary medicine in Switzerland meets statutory regulations when it comes to effectiveness, guaranteeing high quality and safety.

 Press release 

EU Health Award for NGOs 2016

In 2016, the European Commission’s EU Health Award recognises and rewards the efforts and achievements of European NGOs towards reducing the threat to human health from antimicrobial resistance. Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is one of the most challenging threats to human health. Each year, drug resistant infections result in an estimated 25,000 deaths and 1.5 billion euros in healthcare costs and productivity losses in the EU. 

For the winners of EU Health Award look here ↗

The summary report of the winner BEUC/The European Consumer Organisation is linked here ↗

High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines

United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines calls for New Deal to close the Health Innovation and Access Gap

Whether it’s the rising price of the EpiPen, or new outbreaks of diseases, like Ebola, Zika and yellow fever, the rising costs of health technologies and the lack of new tools to tackle health problems, like antimicrobial resistance, is a problem in rich and poor countries alike.

According to a High-Level Panel convened to advise the UN Secretary-General on improving access to medicines, the world must take bold new approaches to both health technology innovation and ensuring access so that all people can benefit from the medical advances that have dramatically improved the lives of millions around the world in the last century.

The Paradoxical Struggle of Homeopathy in Spain

By Aina Marti, PhD Candidate in Comparative Literature, University of Kent

The study of homeopathy in Spain is going under a period of challenges as many institutions, which offer postgraduate studies in homeopathy, are facing strong pressure to cancel their courses due to, what the medical establishment calls, lack of scientific proof. Last March 2016, the University of Barcelona was surrounded by polemics regarding the cancellation of its MA in Homeopathy, which had been running for thirteen years, alleging reasons of ‘lack of scientific base’. Soon after, the Spanish College of Physicians cancelled its homeopathic studies after having been active for twenty-five years.

Integrative Medicine – who and what is integrated how and where to?

By Nora Laubstein

Currently everyone is talking about the term „Integration“: You have to integrate!

If we want to think about integration and naturopathy as one thing, we have to speak verbosely. The keywords associated are: national health system, health economy, USA, university, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), evidence-based medicine (EBM), and specialization and health professions.

There is a loud call in politics and the media for an urgently needed integration of so far foreign experiences. At the same time it is talked about a so-called dominant culture. We are able to recognize this dominant culture if we transfer this development to the section of health policy: the national health system and the health economy became the measure of all things for the EU-countries with clear rules and regulations.

Swiss to recognize homeopathy as legitimate medicine

Mar 29, 2016 - By Swissinfo.ch ↗

The interior ministry has announced plans to give five complementary therapies including homeopathy the same status as conventional medicine.

Homeopathy, holistic medicine, herbal medicine, acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine will acquire the same status as conventional medicine by May 2017 when it comes to health insurance. After being rejected in 2005 by the authorities for lack of scientific proof of their efficacy, complementary and alternative medicines made a comeback in 2009 when two-thirds of Swiss backed their inclusion on the constitutional list of paid health services.

UK NHS Considers Rule Banning Doctors from Prescribing Homeopathy

Ministers are considering whether homeopathy should be put on a blacklist of treatments GPs in England are banned from prescribing, the BBC has learned. The controversial practice is based on the principle that "like cures like", but critics say patients are being given useless sugar pills. The Faculty of Homeopathy said patients supported the therapy. A consultation is expected to take place in 2016.

The total NHS bill for homeopathy, including homeopathic hospitals and GP prescriptions, is thought to be about £4m. Homeopathy is based on the concept that diluting a version of a substance that causes illness has healing properties. So pollen or grass could be used to create a homeopathic hay-fever remedy. One part of the substance is mixed with 99 parts of water or alcohol, and this is repeated six times in a "6c" formulation or 30 times in a "30c" formulation. The end result is combined with a lactose (sugar) tablet.