The practice of health care professionals in Belgium is regulated by the practice of health care professions act, the Royal Decree No. 78 of 10 November 1967. The act includes physicians, dentists, physiotherapists, pharmacists, nurses, midwives and paramedical practitioners. According to Article 2 of this act, making a diagnosis and establishing the treatment of a physical or mental disorder are reserved for the holders of a medical diploma approved by the competent medical commission. Consequently only physicians, dentists or midwives are entitled to make a diagnosis and to prescribe treatment, and only these professions may practise CAM treatments.
According to the Order of Physicians code of conduct, physicians are expected to practise medicine according to the current knowledge of scientific medicine. On the other hand, physicians have a freedom of therapy, so they can freely practise CAM if they bring no harm to their patients.
The Colla law on non-conventional practices (named after Minister Colla), adopted by the Belgian Parliament in 1999, foresees the installation of four ‘chambers’ – for homeopathy, acupuncture, osteopathy and chiropractic – and regulation concerning complementary and alternative therapies.
In 2010 the Belgian Parliament approved a Royal Decree for recognition of 13 professional organisations of medical and non-medical practitioners of non-conventional medicine.
These organisations can nominate members of the Chambers and the commission that are to propose criteria for the practice of these professions and the establishment of a national register.
Since the Colla law is not fully in effect, the practice of a CAM by a practitioner without a full medical education is still illegal.
Directive 2001/83/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Community code relating to medicinal products for human use, has been implemented in the consolidated version of the Wet op de geneesmiddelen (Medicinal Products Law) of 25 March 1964 and the Koninklijk besluit betreffende geneesmiddelen voor menselijk en diergeneeskundig gebruik (Royal Decree on medicines for human and veterinary use) of 14 December 2006.