Switzerland embeds CAM in constitution
Over the last few years complementary medicine has been politically marginalized in Switzerland. Therefore, the complementary medicine sector, including doctors, therapists, manufacturers and specialized traders, together launched and brought about a national popular initiative. This enabled Swiss voters to obtain a referendum for a constitutional amendment if they collected 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 Since parliament’s counterproposal adopted all the core demands on a legal level, the original popular initiative was withdrawn.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 an article stipulating that “The Federal government and cantons shall ensure that, within the scope of their jurisdiction, complementary medicine is taken into consideration”.
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 anthroposophic medicine, homeopathy, neural therapy, herbal medicine (phytotherapy) and Traditional Chinese Medicine into the obligatory public health insurance system.
2. Creation of national diplomas for CAM therapists without a full medical education.
3. Integration of complementary medicine into teaching and research.
4. Safeguarding of proven remedies.