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Germany

Health Insurers Say No To Homeopathy

A number of newspapers have reported that Germany's board of health insurers and doctors has proposed ending public health insurance coverage of non-prescription herbal drugs. The decision means that patients must in the future pay for homeopathic remedies themselves. The board has suggested that four herbal remedies can still be prescribed by doctors, including St. John's Wort for depression and gingko for senility. The proposal comes weeks after the introduction of the government's health reforms in January, under which insurers no longer contribute to the costs of over-the-counter medicine. The government expects the measure to result in savings of up to €1 billion a year. Previously, the public heath insurance system paid for all medicines sold in pharmacies. Critics say the move would seriously damage Germany's flourishing natural medicine sector.