Homœopathy is used throughout the developed world and developing countries and, in 1999, the World Health Organisation (WHO) called for closer incorporation of homœopathy into "western medical systems" [WHO Bulletin, 1999, 77, 2, 160-165].
The International Council for Homœopathy (ICH)
The ICH is the international professional platform representing professional homœopaths and the practice of homœopathy around the world. ICH presently consists of 31 professional associations of homœopaths from 28 countries in four continents, and aims eventually to have member associations in all continents.
The Liga Medicorum Homoeopathica Internationalis (LMHI)
The LHMI is an international homœopathic medical society, established in Rotterdam in 1925. It represents homœopathic physicians in more than 70 countries all over the world. The purposes of the association are the development and securing of homœopathy worldwide and the creation of a link among licensed homœopaths with medical diplomas and societies and persons who are interested in homœopathy. The LMHI is exclusively devoted to non-profit activities serving philanthropic benefits.
The Institute for the History of Medicine
Established in 1980, the Institute for the History of Medicine (IGM) is the only institution of its kind in Germany with no university affiliation. It is run by the Robert Bosch charitable trust.
At present research in the institute concentrates on two main areas, both of which have yet to become established at German universities: the history of homœopathy and social history of medicine. In both areas the focus is at present on patients in history.
The Institute owns a research library with more than 50,000 volumes as well as the homœopathy archives with the estate of Samuel Hahnemann and important pupils and successors, Clemens von Bönninghausen in particular. The archives also hold the records of international and national homœopaths’ organisations.
Homœopathy has a wide public acceptance throughout Europe with some governments recognising homœopathy as a registered profession and incorporated it into their national health system. In 1999 the European Parliament called for homœopathy to be integrated into medical practice [Archives of Internal Medicine, 159, 17, September 27, 1999].
In the UK, homœopathy is available in five National Health Service (NHS) centres, including the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine, previously the London Homeopathic Hospital, and the Glasgow, Bristol and Liverpool Homeopathic Hospitals. The NHS is the equivalent of the Medicare system.The Royal Family has used it since Queen Victoria's time in 1830.
The French Medical Association recognised homœopathy as an existing therapeutic method in 1997 and recommended that it should be taught at universities [Archives of Internal Medicine, 159, 17, September 27, 1999]. In France, the most popular cold and flu medicine is a homœopathic medicine.
In Germany and Austria doctors can undertake training and pass an exam to attain a homœopathic qualification which is recognised by their medical associations.
According to the Medical Journal of Australia, 47% of doctors in The Netherlands use homœopathy [Medical Journal of Australia, 2000, 172, 105-109].
In Latvia homœopathy was awarded official status by the Medical Association in 1995.
The European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology stated in 2002 that homœopathy is the most frequently used natural medicine in Italy [European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 2002, April, 58 (1), 61-4] and the Financial Times reported that 16,000 Italian pharmacies stocked homœopathic medicines [Financial Times, May 3, 2002].
In Romania the practice of homœopathy is regulated by law and requires a practitioner to be licensed.
In Switzerland homœopathy is rebatable by most health insurance providers, and in 2010/11 the Swiss Government carried out an investigation into the effectiveness, appropriateness, safety and cost of homœopathy in healthcare the result of which was published in book form in English (Bornhoft and Matthiessen, 2011). This breakthrough report affirmed that homeopathic treatment is both effective and cost-effective and that homeopathic treatment should be reimbursed by Switzerland's national health insurance program.
The Portuguese law for complementary medicines - Law 71/2013 - was implemented on 2nd September 2013, whereby homœopathy, along with acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal medicine, naturopathy, osteopathy and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are now regulated as fully autonomous profesisons with their own provisions on diagnosing and writing prescriptions. The pre-requisite for registration on to the national register is a university degree in the respective modality. The various professions are currently working with one particular university to establish the curriculum for each of the degree level courses.
Find more information at the European Central Council of Homeopaths (ECCH) website.
In the United States homœopathy has had a long history, with the height of its influence at the end of the 19th century where hardly any city with over 50,000 people was without a homœopathic hospital. In 1890, there were 93 regular schools, 14 of them were fully homœopathic. In 1900, this number had increased to 121 regular schools, with 22 of them being homœopathic. 2.5 million Americans use homœopathic medicines and the magazine of the Rheumatic Diseases Clinics of North America stated that " homœopathy is one of the world's most frequently used complementary therapies" [2000, February, 26, 1, 117-123]. The American Journal of Medicine reported in an article entitle The Future of Integrative Medicine that integrative medicine now has a broad presence in medical education, having evolved because of public demand, student and resident interest, increased research, institutional support, and novel education programs: "Now on the horizon is a more pluralistic, pragmatic approach to medicine that is patient-centered, that offers the broadest range of potential therapies, and that advocates not only the holistic treatment of disease but also prevention, health and wellness." [The American Journal of Medicine, Vol 126, No 8, August 2013].
In Canada, the practice of homœopathic medicine is regulated by provincial jurisdiction, while homœopathic medicines are governed by federal jurisdiction. The Canadian province of Ontario passed a bill in 2007, legislating and enacting homœopathy as a registered health profession.
Mexico has integrated homœopathy into its national health care system. In as early as 1895, by presidential decree, the first homœopathic school and hospital were established and regulations issued regarding training standards for homœopathic doctors. [Legal Status of Traditional Medicine and Complementary/Alternative Medicine: A Worldwide Review, an unofficial review by the World Health Organisation 2001].
A number of Latin American countries have regulated homœopathy: in Cuba, Argentina and Colombia practitioners have to be doctors who have graduated from a recognised medical school, in Brazil homœopathy is incorporated into the national health system. [Legal Status of Traditional Medicine and Complementary/Alternative Medicine: A Worldwide Review, an unofficial review by the World Health Organisation 2001].
Middle East & Asia
In the Indian subcontinent there are more than 246,000 registered homœopathic practitioners and approximately 7000 government clinics and over 300 hopitals that dispense homœopathic medicines. Approximately 180 colleges train practitioners to the level of a Bachelor degree in homœopathy combined with surgery and gynaecology. In 1978 the Government of India established the Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH) as an autonomous organization. [History of Homeopathy, CCRH Official website; CCRH History, Central Council for Research in Homœopathy].
The Government of Pakistan recognised homœopathy as a legal mode of medical treatment in 1965. In 2012 the President of Pakistan signed the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan Act (DRAP Act, 2012), which formed the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan as the regulator of therapeutic goods in the country at the federal level. Modalities such as homœopathy, Ayurveda and herbalism are now defined as medicines and are under the ambit of drug rules; a separate division named Division of Health and OTC (non-drugs) has been established to regulate the assessment, licensing and registration of these medicines' manufacture and quality control.
Homœopathy is becoming popular in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE Ministry of Health recognizes and regulates the practice of homœopathy in a systematic way. Both medical doctors and lay practitioners can practise homœopathy but they all have to pass exams set by the Ministry, which cover both medical science and homœopathy.
The Ministry of Health of Iran recognizes homœopathy as a legal alternative treatment. The Iranian Homeopathic Association, formed with the permission of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Health, is the reference association for providing standards of homœopathy. In Iran only medical doctors can practice homœopathy.
In South Africa, homœopathy is currently regulated by the Allied Health Professions Act, 1982 (Act 63 of 1982). The Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa (AHPCSA) is one of five Statutory Health Professional Councils regulating health professions in South Africa. Any person wishing to practice homœopathy must be registered with the AHPCSA. Homœopathic registration in South Africa enjoys a standing, rights and privileges similar to that of conventional medical practitioners. This means that the legal scope of practice of a homeopathic practitioner is very similar to that of a conventional medical practitioner. Training is based upon the medical curriculum with homœopathy as the primary therapeutic focus and is a five-year full-time Masters degree in homœopathy offered at the University of Johannesburg and Durban University of Technology. [Legal Status of Traditional Medicine and Complementary/Alternative Medicine: A Worldwide Review, an unofficial review by the World Health Organisation 2001].
In Nigeria, both medically qualified practitioners and lay persons can practice homœopathy. The Congress of Homœopathic Medicine Practitioners had 30 medical doctors on its register in 2005. The Nigerian College of Homœopathic Medicine, founded in 1972, is recognised by the government.