Spanish Government Bans Pseudo-Therapies from Public Health Centres and Hospitals

In a bid to curb concerns about the rise of so-called pseudo therapies, the Spanish Government is creating a plan that would ban any therapy that is not supported by scientific evidence from publicly run health centres and hospitals, it will also prohibit any centre offering pseudo therapies from calling itself a “health centre”.

This plan, named Health Protection Plan Against Pseudo-therapies, has been a reply to a letter signed by over 400 Spanish scientists and healthcare professionals who are concerned about the dysregulation of pseudo therapies, concluding that these therapies promise to have a positive health impact but have no scientific evidence to support their claims.

Concern amongst healthcare professionals in Spain increased when a cancer patient died recently after rejecting traditional medicine and opted for alternative treatment.

The proposal, unprecedented in the European Union, aims to eliminate so-called alternative therapies from health centres and universities.

The plan is divided into four main lines of action.

The first is a communication strategy to “generate and spread information based on knowledge and scientific evidence” by subjecting alternative therapies to the same level of scrutiny as scientific fields, and publishing results of their effectiveness.

The second part aims to stop “misleading publicity” about pseudo-therapies. To do this, the government will need to modify legislation so that patients are aware which alternative therapies are not effective.

This measure will also allow the government to stop publicity that promotes alternative therapy services, products, events or anything else relating to pseudo-therapies.

The third part seeks to “eliminate pseudo-therapies from health centres” and “guarantee” that only health professionals with “officially recognized qualification” work there, while the fourth aims to remove any degree that includes pseudo-therapies from the country’s universities.

After an initial list of 139 practices was released, there was a serious backlash from healthcare academics and professionals. Carolina Moreno, professor at Valencia University and an expert on social perception of health, “Most people aren’t aware of the difference between medicine and these therapies. This should have been managed by the authorities, starting with the health sector, which did not offer an opportunity for discussion and which has published a report that is nonsense with 139 therapies all thrown together, without distinguishing between them properly in an extremely long and incomprehensible list.”

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It seems that now there will be an opportunity for discussion amongst healthcare professionals before a definitive report will be drafted to clarify which “practices and methods” are not backed by scientific evidence.

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