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Parliamentary questions
26 June 2009
Answer given by Ms Vassiliou on behalf of the Commission

The Commission is aware that Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) are used within the European Community, and the voice of CAM advocates is being heard in the Commission.

The Commission's Directorate-General for Health and Consumer Protection met, for instance, recently with representatives from the European Forum for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (EFCAM) which was represented by some of their member organisations: the European Federation of Patients Associations for Anthroposophic Medicine (EFPAM), the European Federation of Homeopathic Patients Associations (EFHPA), the International Federation of Anthroposophic Medical Associations (IVAA), the International Council for Medical Acupuncture and Related Techniques (ICMART), the European Central Council of Homeopaths (ECCH), the European Shiatsu Federation (ESF), the European Coalition for Homeopathic and Anthroposophic Medicinal Products (ECHAMP), and IVAH/CAM Doctors EPHA EXEC. The discussion focused on how interest groups on CAM can work together to strengthen the position of CAM in Europe and at the national level.

The Commission moreover supported the World Health Organisation (WHO) Declaration of Beijing, adopted in November 2008, which invites governments to support research on traditional medicines and to better integrate them into their national health systems.

Under the seventh framework programme (FP7, 2007‑13), there are opportunities for funding research in this area. There is now a new FP7 health theme, Coordination Action on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), entitled ‘Good Practice in Traditional Chinese Medicine Research in the Post-genomic Era’, which has just started. This project will develop a European-Chinese network collaborating on functional genomics research in TCM (review of current practice of TCM research, identification of problems and proposals for solutions, and proposals for standard protocols of methodology).

Furthermore, the 3rd pillar of the health theme ‘Optimising the Delivery of Health Care to European Citizens’ under FP7 will fund a project on CAM in the scheme: ‘Coordination and Support action’, entitled: ‘­HEALTH‑2008-3.1-3: Complementary and Alternative Medicine’. CAMbrella — A pan-European research network for CAM has been selected. The expected EC contribution will be EUR 1 498 598. The aim of this project is to develop a roadmap for future European research into CAM that is appropriate for the healthcare needs of EU citizens, and acceptable to Parliament, as well as the national research funders and healthcare providers. The specific objectives are to develop an EU network involving centres of research excellence for collaborative research, to develop consensus-based terminology widely accepted in Europe to describe CAM interventions, to create a knowledge base that facilitates our understanding of patient demand for CAM and its prevalence, to review the current legal status and policies governing CAM provision in the EU and to explore the needs, beliefs and attitudes of EU citizens with respect to CAM. Based on this information, a roadmap will be created that will enable a sustainable and prioritised EU research roadmap for CAM.

With regard to the second Programme of Community action in the field of health, the 2009 Work Plan was published on 26 February 2009 with a budget of about EUR 48.2 million. The call for proposals presents new funding opportunities for the European organisations active in the area of public health. The deadline for submission of proposals was 20 May 2009. More information on the Programme, including application package, can be obtained on the websites of the Directorate-General for Health and Consumer Protection (at http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_programme/pgm2008_2013_en.htm) and of the Executive Agency for Health and Consumers (EAHC) which implements the EU Health Programme (at http://ec.europa.eu/eahc/).

At this stage, the Work Plan for 2010 is under preparation, and no decisions have been taken on the work priorities.

Lastly, the simplified registration procedure under Directive 2001/83/EC applicable to homeopathic and anthroposophy medicinal products produced by homeopathic means, is a national procedure, in which the Member States grant and eventually withdraw registrations to place such products on the market. This simplified registration procedure was introduced into Community pharmaceutical legislation to provide for a specific route for the placing on the market of such products, adapted to their characteristics. Under this procedure, the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) does not play a role. Therefore, the Commission does not consider any disappearance of homeopathic and anthroposophy medicinal products in the internal market to be caused by the EMEA.

OJ C 189, 13/07/2010
Last updated: 8 July 2009Legal notice