The French Healthcare Minister has announced that the government will stop the funding of homeopathic remedies by 2021. It is estimated that the policy will save €127 million ($142.30 million).

Homeopathy is an alternative medicine practice based on the philosophy that ‘like cures like.’ For example, if an ill person is displaying certain symptoms then they can be cured by taking a substance that causes the same symptoms in a healthy person. Homeopaths also believe that the more diluted the substance, the stronger the effect. Most homeopathic cures are virtually water.

Large-scale studies have found homeopathy to be no more effective than a placebo and it therefore has no scientific merit as a viable treatment for any condition. Many medical professionals claim that homeopathic treatments are unethical as they discourage patients from seeking effective treatment. There have been some cases of people attempting to cure their cancer using homeopathy, while refusing hospital treatment.

Currently, homeopathic remedies can be prescribed by doctors in France and are available in most pharmacies. The state healthcare system currently reimburses 30% or the cost for each medication and many people have health insurance that covers the remainder. By 2020, the reimbursement will fall to 15% to allow time for manufacturers to adjust and no reimbursement will be given by 2021.

Homeopathy is relatively popular in France, with more than 1% of the population having taken a homeopathic remedy in the past year. The Health Minister is already experiencing a considerable backlash to her policy from both citizens and the alternative medicine industry.

The company Boiron, the majority homeopathic retailer in France, has said they expect sales to fall by 50% in response. Their share price has already dropped by 20% from the policy speculation.
The money saved by the policy has the potential to be invested into healthcare initiatives elsewhere that could have greater benefits.

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