Complementary medicines added to new EU Health legislation thanks to Conservative MEPs

European Parliament votes for programme that will complement member state policies in promoting human health

Strasbourg, 16 March 2006 -- The European Parliament has today held its first vote on the EU's 2007-13 programme for public health that is intended to complement - rather than compete with - the policies of national governments. Amendments to the draft legislation put forward by Conservative MEPs, will mean the 100 million users of complementary medicine across the EU will also enjoy added benefits from the scheme.

The 'Community Health Action Programme' aims to implement policies that will protect and promote human health and safety and prevent human illness, diseases and injuries. The current programme, which is due to expire in 2008, spends an average €59 million euros per year (just 0.15 per cent of the EU budget) on providing access to health information, tackling determinants that lead to disease, providing a better quality of life for sufferers of disability or chronic disease and analysing data to monitor the health of European citizens.

Thanks to the amendments tabled by Conservative MEPs, the European Commission would no longer be able to turn down funding to projects involving alternative medicines, as they have done in the past.

Sir Robert said:

"Alternative medicines and treatments can be useful in healthcare so long as they are complementary to the advice and work of health professionals. Over 100 million EU citizens are using complementary medicines on a regular basis and the EU should recognise their benefits and promote their use.

"Science is now confirming the effectiveness of treatments such as acupuncture.

"Ultimately, the decisions people make about their health are their own but they should have all the necessary information at their fingertips when choosing their lifestyle. The European health action programme enables people to be fully informed about the health consequences of certain habits or lifestyles.

"By promoting the best possible level of public health, we will keep citizens happy, keep potential patients out of hospital and keep our NHS tax bills down."

Top ↑