Homeopathy was born in Germany about 200 years ago. Now we are witnessing its slow demise due to a lack of convincing evidence.
It is only a small announcement by, but it sends out a big signal: Bremen’s doctors’ parliament has decided to cancel all homeopathy contracts.
Opponents and supporters of homeopathy agree on one thing: the latest decision of the Association of Statutory Health Insurance (KV) Bremen is an important nail in the coffin for alternative medicine. The KV representative assembly has just decided to terminate all selective contracts concerning the reimbursement of homeopathic services.
Some are rejoicing: “In Bremen it’s over” tweeted Dr. Hans-Werner Bertelsen, for example. The “sugar-sugar affine clientele” will have a harder time in the future, he stated. And: “The financing of woo must be stopped politically.”
Oliver Borrmann, a general practitioner and homeopath from Bremen, on the other hand, is outraged. He speaks of discrimination, of a conflagration, and of being the “whipping boy for everything”. “They are watching alternative medicine die right now,” he professes. It is considered chic to rise above homeopathy, he claims, and anyone who defends it is put down.
In Bremen, three contracts existed with several companies and health insurance funds which extended the range of paid services to include homeopathy for their patients. Both the KV Bremen and the homeopath Borrmann speak of a group of insured persons that is not particularly large – in Borrmann’s practice there are about 30 patients – but of a political signal that emanates from the decision.
It is the reason for the termination that makes him concerned and take notice, says Borrmann. It states: “As long as not all treatments whose benefits have already been scientifically proven can be fully financed in the statutory health insurance system, there will be no funds left for procedures for whose concrete benefits there is no evidence.”
This phraseology which quotes the KV board members Bernhard Rochell and Peter Kurt Josenhans sounds unwieldy – but it contains a clear message: homeopathy is considered useless by the KV.
One does not need to be a clairvoyant to predict that other parts of Germany will follow Bremen’s example. Effective lobbying and financial interests have protected German homeopathy for decades, but the eventual victory of reason, science, and evidence was inevitable.
The new German secretary of health, Prof Lauterbach, tweeted in connection with the news from Bremen:
“Mit der Wissenschaft werden Pandemien bekämpft und Krankheiten geheilt. Wir brauchen mehr Wissenschaft in der Behandlung, nicht weniger. Die Homöopathie hat keinen Platz in der modernen Medizin.”
(Science is used to fight pandemics and cure diseases. We need more science in treatment, not less. Homeopathy has no place in modern medicine.)