The Socialist Government of Pedro Sánchez prepares an unprecedented offensive in the European Union against pseudotherapies, those disciplines such as homeopathy that claim to have healing virtues when scientific evidence has shown that they lack them. The ultimate goal of the plan is to expel the so-called alternative therapies from health centers and universities and was presented this morning by the Ministers of Health, María Luisa Carcedo, and Science and Universities, Pedro Duque.
"Public or private establishments that include pseudotherapies can not be called health centers," explained Carcedo, who has ensured that the plan pursues the defense of science and scientific knowledge. "You have to stand up to these techniques because it's about the health of people," he continued. For all this, the minister has assured that the new regulation will affect all public and private centers.
Duque argues for his part that it is essential to separate the anecdote from scientific evidence: "The anecdote is that a treatment works for an acquaintance of a brother-in-law," he has exemplified. On the application of the plan, the minister has assured that the official titles of degree and master of the branch of health, in whose approval both ministries intervene and where the presence of pseudotherapies is already almost marginal, will be reviewed by the Carlos Health Institute III. In the case of own titles, which are governed by the autonomy of the universities, Duque has admitted that "it is not yet determined what will be the action that these institutions".
The starting point of the plan is not only that the pseudotherapies do not work and, therefore, they are a deception for the user. The Government considers, as it has already advanced before the European Union last September, that these disciplines "negatively affect health, is perpetuating some ailments, generating others or, even, increasing the risk of death ". And this for the following reasons: because "they favor the delay or replacement of conventional treatments whose efficacy and safety is proven" or because "They reduce the effectiveness of these treatments, as several investigations have shown."
The project, which has the eloquent title of Health Protection Plan against Pseudotherapies, It is structured in four main lines, each of which has its own objectives and planned actions.
The first is to use the means of the Ministry of Science and the National Health System, such as the evaluation agencies, to "generate and disseminate information based on knowledge and scientific evidence". The objective is to subject these disciplines to the same scrutiny as the other scientific areas and make the results public, in a communication strategy that will seek to "create alliances with scientific societies, professional associations, universities, the associative movement and civil society" .
The second line of action wants to "avoid misleading advertising". This will entail the modification of several royal decrees to impose "normatively the need for people to be informed" about the lack of effectiveness of these disciplines when they are offered in private health centers and stop advertising the services, products, events and any another form of presentation of these disciplines.
The third seeks, also with the modification of several royal decrees, "eliminate pseudotherapies of health centers" and "ensure" that all activities carried out in them are provided by "professionals who have the officially recognized degrees" .
Specifically, the modification of Royal Decree 1277/2003, aims to "clarify the definition of U.101 care units (non-conventional therapies) and U.900 (other units) to" avoid the inclusion of any pseudotherapy ".
The fourth line seeks to expel from the universities any degree that gives shelter to pseudotherapies. This will be done through a previous report that "clarifies practices and methods" not supported by scientific evidence. This report will serve to launch a process of review of existing degrees to exclude those that do not have sufficient endorsement "to be taught".
The plan also foresees to reinforce "the principles of knowledge and scientific evidence" in the university so that they are present in a transversal way in all the "degree and master courses" related to the health field. For this, Health and Science intend to "develop alliances with the Conference of Deans, the rectors, the autonomous communities and professional associations" to "not promote own or official titles on pseudotherapies."
Finally, the plan contemplates preventing the "recognition of health interest" from obtaining any act that "promotes the use of pseudotherapies". The Government considers that the project "is not a closed document", but is "open to new contributions from the sectors involved, autonomous communities, professional associations, scientific societies and the associative movement".
The plan document highlights that in its design the proposals of entities such as the Association to Protect the Sick from Pseudoscientific Therapies, Skeptical Circle, Farmaciencia, Sectarian Prevention and Weakness Abuse Network and the Society for the Advancement of the Critical thinking. In recent years, these associations have played a very active role in denouncing the infiltration that pseudotherapies have achieved in the university world, professional associations and administrations, among others.