The inventor of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, was a German physician. It is therefore not surprising that homeopathy quickly took hold in Germany. After its initial success, homeopathy’s history turned out to be a bit of a roller coaster. But only recently, a vocal and effective opposition has come to the fore (see my previous post).
Despite the increasing opposition, the advent of EBM, and the much-publicised fact that the best evidence fails to show homeopathy’s effectiveness, there are many doctors who still practice it. According to one website, there are 4330 doctor homeopaths in Germany (plus, of course, almost the same number of Heilpraktiker who also use homeopathy). This figure is, however, out-dated. The German Medical Association told a friend that, at the end of 2017, there were 5612 doctors practising in Germany who hold the additional qualification (‘Zusatz-Weiterbildung’) homeopathy.
That’s a lot, I find.
Why so many?
Whenever I give lectures on the subject, this is the question that comes up with unfailing regularity. Many people who ask would also imply that, if so many doctors use it, homeopathy must be fine, because doctors have studied and know what they are doing.
My answer usually is that the phenomenon is due to many factors:
- powerful lobby groups,
- patient demand,
- homeopathy’s image of being gentle, safe and holistic,
- patients’ need to believe in something more than ‘just science’,
- the fact that most German health insurances reimburse it,
- political support,
But, in fact, the true explanation, as I have learnt recently, might be much simpler and more profane: MONEY!
A German GP gets 4.36 Euros for taking a conventional history.
If he is a homeopath taking an initial homeopathic history, (s)he gets 130 € according to the ‘Selektivvertrag’.
So, yes, doctors have studied and know that the difference between the two amounts is significant.