Homœopathy is used throughout the developed world and developing countries and, in 1999, the World Health Organisation (WHO) called for closer incorporation of homœopathy into "western medical systems".1
1 WHO Bulletin, 1999, 77, 2, 160-165
The International Council for Homeopathy (ICH)
The ICH is the international professional platform representing professional homœopaths and the practice of homœopathy around the world. ICH presently consists of 31 professional associations of homœopaths from 29 countries in five continents, and aims eventually to have member associations in all continents.
Objectives of the ICH:
Encourage consistency of standards within the homœopathy profession through mutual co-operation and the exchange of knowledge, experience and resources.
Ensure the public’s freedom of choice in healthcare by promoting and maintaining the right of homœopaths to practise homœopathy throughout the World, and to seek official recognition for the profession from the institutions of each national government and from multi-national government bodies.
Act as an international advisory body to national and international governmental, scientific, academic and other relevant institutions.
The Liga Medicorum Homoeopathica Internationalis (LMHI)
The LHMI is an international homœopathic medical society, established in Rotterdam in 1925. It represents homœopathic physicians in more than 70 countries all over the world. The purposes of the association are the development and securing of homœopathy worldwide and the creation of a link among licensed homœopaths with medical diplomas and societies and persons who are interested in homœopathy. The LMHI is exclusively devoted to non-profit activities serving philanthropic benefits.
Robert Bosch Foundation - Institute for the History of Medicine
Established in 1980, the Institute for the History of Medicine (IGM) is the only institution of its kind in Germany with no university affiliation. It is run by the Robert Bosch charitable trust.
At present research in the institute concentrates on two main areas: the history of homœopathy and social history of medicine, with focus on patient histories. The institute's equipment and research mandate are equal to those of departments of history of medicine at German universities.
The Institute owns a research library with more than 50,000 volumes as well as the homœopathy archives which preserve the legacies of Samuel Hahnemann and important pupils and successors, Clemens von Bönninghausen in particular. The archives also hold the records of international and national homœopaths’ organisations.
Homeopathy Research Institute (HRI)
The HRI is an international charity, which was created in 2007 and achieved charitable status in 2009. It aims to address the need for high quality scientific research in homœopathy. It was founded by physicist, Dr Alexander Tournier, who previously worked as an independent researcher for Cancer Research UK, conducting interdisciplinary research at the boundaries between mathematics, physics and biology.
With the support from several established leaders in homœopathy research, such as Dr Peter Fisher, Dr Elizabeth Thompson, Dr Clare Relton and Prof Kate Thomas, and invaluable help from many other individuals, HRI established a new institute which is now headed up by Dr Tournier and Rachel Roberts, homoeopathic clinician and lecturer. The institute's primary purpose is to facilitate homœopathy research. It supports new research projects, awards PhD Studentships in the field of homœopathy, presents evidence for homœopathy at an international level and organises international research conferences to bring together the best homœopathy researchers from around the world.
Dr Alexander Tournier, HRI Chairman, says, "Recent statements in the media have argued that further research in homeopathy is not justified, however this is far from the case as many important questions remain unanswered. Homeopathy is a complex subject, which we are only just starting to explore".
Homœopathy has a wide public acceptance throughout Europe with some governments recognising homœopathy as a registered profession and incorporating it into their national health system. In 1999 the European Parliament called for homœopathy to be integrated into medical practice.1
In the UK, homœopathy is available in four National Health Service (NHS) centres, including the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine, previously the London Homeopathic Hospital, and the Glasgow and Bristol Homeopathic Hospitals and the Department of Homeopathic Medicine in Liverpool. The NHS is the equivalent of the Australian Medicare system. The Royal Family has used it since Queen Victoria's time in the 1830s.
The French Medical Association recognised homœopathy as an existing therapeutic method in 1997 and recommended that it should be taught at universities.2 [Archives of Internal Medicine, 159, 17, September 27, 1999].1 In France, the most popular cold and flu medicine is a homœopathic medicine.
In Germany and Austria doctors can undertake training and pass an exam to attain a homœopathic qualification which is recognised by their medical associations.
According to the Medical Journal of Australia, 47% of doctors in The Netherlands use homœopathy.2
In Latvia homœopathy was awarded official status by the Medical Association in 1995.
The European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology stated in 2002 that homœopathy is the most frequently used natural medicine in Italy3 and the Financial Times reported that 16,000 Italian pharmacies stocked homœopathic medicines4.
Romania has regulated the practice of homœopathy by law and requires a practitioner to be licensed.
In Switzerland homœopathy is rebatable by most health insurance providers, and in 2010/11 the Swiss Government carried out an investigation into the effectiveness, appropriateness, safety and cost of homœopathy in healthcare. The result was published in book form in English5. This breakthrough report affirmed that homœopathic treatment is both effective and cost-effective and that homœopathic treatment should be reimbursed by Switzerland's national health insurance program.
The Portuguese law for complementary medicines - Law 71/2013 - was implemented on 2nd September 2013, whereby homœopathy, along with acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal medicine, naturopathy, osteopathy and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are now regulated as fully autonomous professions with their own provisions on diagnosing and writing prescriptions. The pre-requisite for registration on to the national register is a university degree in the respective modality. The various professions are currently working with one particular university to establish the curriculum for each of the degree level courses.
1 Archives of Internal Medicine, 159, 17, September 27, 1999
2 Medical Journal of Australia, 2000, 172, 105-109
3 European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 2002, April, 58 (1), 61-4
4 Financial Times, May 3, 2002
5 Bornhoft and Matthiessen: 'Homeopathy in Healthcare - Effectiveness, Appropriateness, Safety, Costs', 2011
Middle East & Asia
Homœopathy is becoming popular in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE Ministry of Health recognizes and regulates the practice of homœopathy in a systematic way. Both medical doctors and lay practitioners can practise homœopathy but they all have to pass exams set by the Ministry, which cover both medical science and homœopathy.
The Ministry of Health of Iran recognizes homœopathy as a legal alternative treatment. The Iranian Homeopathic Association, formed with the permission of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Health, is the reference association for providing standards of homœopathy. In Iran only medical doctors can practice homœopathy.
In the Indian subcontinent there are more than 246,000 registered homœopathic practitioners and approximately 7000 government clinics and over 300 hospitals that dispense homœopathic medicines. Approximately 180 colleges train practitioners to the level of a Bachelor degree in homœopathy, combined with surgery and gynaecology. In 1978 the Government of India established the Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH) as an autonomous organization.1
The Government of Pakistan recognised homœopathy as a legal mode of medical treatment in 1965. In 2012 the President of Pakistan signed the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan Act (DRAP Act, 2012), which formed the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan as the regulator of therapeutic goods in the country at the federal level. Modalities such as homœopathy, Ayurveda and herbalism are now defined as medicines and are under the ambit of drug rules; a separate division, named Division of Health and OTC (non-drugs), has been established to regulate the assessment, licensing and registration of these medicines' manufacture and quality control.
Homœopathy was unknown in Japan before 1996 but quickly became popular after the establishment of the Japanese Homoeopathic Medicine Association (JPHMA) in 1998 and the Japanese Physicians Society of Homeopathy (JPSH) in 2000. With the introduction of professional insurance for homœopaths in 2005 and the establishment of a standard registration procedure, homoeopathy in Japan has become a self-regulated profession with several hundred practitioners.
1 'History of Homeopathy', CCRH Official website; CCRH History, Central Council for Research in Homœopathy.
In the United States homœopathy has had a long history, with the height of its influence at the end of the 19th century where hardly any city with over 50,000 people was without a homœopathic hospital. In 1890, there were 93 regular schools, 14 of them were fully homœopathic. In 1900, this number had increased to 121 regular schools, with 22 of them being homœopathic. 2.5 million Americans use homœopathic medicines and the magazine of the Rheumatic Diseases Clinics of North America stated that " homœopathy is one of the world's most frequently used complementary therapies".1 The American Journal of Medicine reported in an article entitle 'The Future of Integrative Medicine' that integrative medicine now has a broad presence in medical education, having evolved because of public demand, student and resident interest, increased research, institutional support, and novel education programs: "Now on the horizon is a more pluralistic, pragmatic approach to medicine that is patient-centered, that offers the broadest range of potential therapies, and that advocates not only the holistic treatment of disease but also prevention, health and wellness."2
In Canada, the practice of homœopathic medicine is regulated by provincial jurisdiction, while homœopathic medicines are governed by federal jurisdiction. The Canadian province of Ontario passed a bill in 2007, legislating and enacting homœopathy as a government registered health profession.
Mexico has integrated homœopathy into its national health care system. In as early as 1895, by presidential decree, the first homœopathic school and hospital were established and regulations issued regarding training standards for homœopathic doctors.3
A number of Latin American countries have regulated homœopathy: in Cuba, Argentina and Colombia practitioners have to be doctors who have graduated from a recognised medical school, in Brazil homœopathy is incorporated into the national health system.3
1 Rheumatic Diseases Clinics of North America, 2000, February, 26, 1, 117-123
2 The American Journal of Medicine, Vol 126, No 8, August 2013
3 'Legal Status of Traditional Medicine and Complementary/Alternative Medicine: A Worldwide Review', an unofficial review by the World Health Organisation 2001
In South Africa, homœopathy is currently regulated by the Allied Health Professions Act, 1982 (Act 63 of 1982). The Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa (AHPCSA) is one of five Statutory Health Professional Councils regulating health professions in South Africa. Any person wishing to practice homœopathy must be registered with the AHPCSA. Homœopathic registration in South Africa enjoys a standing, rights and privileges similar to that of conventional medical practitioners. This means that the legal scope of practice of a homœopathic practitioner is very similar to that of a conventional medical practitioner. Training is based upon the medical curriculum with homœopathy as the primary therapeutic focus and is a five-year full-time Masters degree in homœopathy, offered at the University of Johannesburg and Durban University of Technology.1
In Nigeria, both medically qualified practitioners and lay persons can practice homœopathy. The Congress of Homœopathic Medicine Practitioners had 30 medical doctors on its register in 2005. The Nigerian College of Homœopathic Medicine, founded in 1972, is recognised by the government.
1 'Legal Status of Traditional Medicine and Complementary/Alternative Medicine: A Worldwide Review', an unofficial review by the World Health Organisation 2001