Ensuring the availability of CAM medicinal products Building on recommendations of the Matrix Insight report, highlighting the need for additional measures, July 2015

Ensuring the availability of CAM medicinal products for the benefit of EU citizens in order to exploit their potential to address some major health issues of our time such as antimicrobial resistance and chronic disease.

In several EU Member States the availability of CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) herbal, homeopathic and anthroposophic medicinal products is unnecessarily restricted. The lack of availability of these products inhibits increasing demand by EU citizens for low risk, health enhancing CAM medicines, hampering the ability of doctors and practitioners to provide effective CAM treatments. It also undermines the potential benefit of these products in helping to tackle specific health issues prioritised by the Commission e.g. combating anti-microbial resistance, managing chronic conditions and sustaining healthy ageing. 

The Matrix Insight report, an external study commissioned by DG Health and Food Safety for the Pharmaceutical Committee, was published on the Committee’s website in November 2014. The report acknowledges problems affecting the availability of CAM medicinal products and further work is ‘expected to inform policy options for the Commission to consider in order to address the issue of unavailability.’

EUROCAM welcomes the Matrix Insight report’s findings that confirm the experience of health professionals and patients in the CAM sector that there are availability problems for CAM medicinal products and that there is a need for further action in this area. Such action the report says ‘should focus on ensuring that the process of authorisation of herbal, homeopathic and anthroposophic medicinal products is more consistent, both with the text of the existing provisions and between Member States.’

Unfortunately the Matrix report did not identify the community of patients, doctors and practitioners in the CAM sector as stakeholders and therefore did not scope their requirements. In the light of this, this EUROCAM document describes the needs of patients and health professionals seeking to make use of CAM medicinal products specifically suggesting measures that can improve the availability and use of CAM medicines.