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France will end healthcare refunds for homeopathic drugs

Christian Fernsby ▼ | July 10, 2019
France will end social security reimbursements for homeopathic drugs and the new policy will take full effect in 2021.
Healthcare Minister Agnes Buzyn
European businesses   Healthcare Minister Agnes Buzyn
Earlier this year the French health watchdog recommended the move, citing what it said was the insufficient effectiveness of the drugs after an investigation into how they affected conditions such as anxiety or foot warts.

Healthcare Minister Agnes Buzyn told Le Parisien newspaper that there would be a phase-out period before 2021.

The government initially aims to cut refunds for the drugs from 30% of their cost to 15% as of January 2020 as a first step, she added. "That will give manufacturers time to get organised," Buzyn said.

France has long had a stronger attachment than many other countries to homeopathic drugs, which aim to treat patients with highly diluted substances, and is home to the world's biggest maker of the alternative medicine, Boiron .

Boiron criticised the plan earlier on Tuesday as rumours of the health ministry decision circulated, and it said it would fight the edict.

"Depriving French people of their freedom to choose (their treatment) is totally misaligned with the demands and needs of patients," Boiron said in a statement, adding it had been due to meet Buzyn this Thursday and was shocked by the decision.