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Alternative medicine in Switzerland

Alternative medicine, also called complementary medicine, is the term for all kinds of treatment and therapy that do not fall under the category of conventional medicine. These may be performed by physicians or practitioners of natural medicine. The latter do not belong to acknowledged service providers according to the Health Insurance Act (KVG).

Products specified on the List of Pharmaceutical Specialties are covered by basic health insurance less a cost contribution.

Developments in compulsory health insurance

Swiss voters decided on May 17, 2009 to make more allowances for complementary medicine in the compulsory health insurance system. From 2012 to 2017, five healing methods (anthroposophic medicine, homoeopathy, neural therapy, phytotherapy and traditional Chinese medicine) will be allowed under certain conditions. Services will be covered if performed by doctors having obtained a qualification in the listed therapies.

It will be determined in this transitional phase whether these therapies fulfil the legal criteria for efficacy, usefulness and cost-effectiveness. This is critical for the definitive acceptance of the five healing methods to the compulsory health insurance system.

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