CAM in Hungary



About half of the Hungarian population use CAM, with the most common users being women, middle-aged people, well educated individuals, people in high positions with high income, and city dwellers. There seems to be a significant trend towards an increased use of CAM. The expenditure for CAM in 2010 is estimated at approx. 580 billion HUF (2 million Euros).

The use of CAM is more characteristic of older and sick people, while openness towards CAM is more common among younger and healthier individuals. There are no differences between medical and non-medical CAM services in terms of usage and satisfaction.

In 1997 the Minister of Health set up a body of professional advisers which is still in place today. Recently the Hungarian statutes were revised by the body of advisers together with representatives of four Hungarian medical universities, ÁNTSZ and National Institute of Pharmacy.

The Hungarian Health Minister also recently established a new professional medical department for all medical disciplines, including CAM. CAM is regulated by law, is included in health services and patient care, and the providers of CAM have to meet certain professional requirements. Regardless of having a physician’s or non-physician diploma, obtaining a license requires passing tests issued by the State Popular Health Care Institute (ÁNTSZ).

During the nine years after the statute was passed, a lot of experience was gained in Hungary in the areas of teaching and everyday practice, and the policies and statutes have to be revised accordingly.

In 1998 and 2002 the medical department of the Hungarian Academy of Science (MTA) accepted as scientifically proven and medically curative the following branches that are practiced only by physicians:
Traditional Chinese Medicine
(acupuncture and related techniques)
Manual Medicine
(osteopathy, chiropractic)
Neuraltherapy

Only one CAM department



Achieving a physician’s diploma in these areas is only possible, though, after successful exam and permission at University of Pecs CAM Department, as this is the only Hungarian university with a CAM department.

Other areas, e.g. acupressure, reflexology, phytotherapy and kinesiology, do not require a physician’s diploma and can be practiced with medium qualifications in the health field.

Regarding CAM treatments such as Ayurveda, Tibetan Medicine, biophysical medicine and Homeopathy, it was decided that additional scientific evidence is needed, but their use is still allowed in health care. The only procedures assessed as unscientific by the MTA were those used in natural healing and conducted with instruments as diagnostic tools, e.g. bioenergetic tests.


Text: Gabriella Hegyi & Jesper Odde Madsen

Sources

Military Individuals usage of CAM in Hungary (Hegyi, Pfeiffenroth, Csutortoki) PTE CAM department, Hungarian Defensive University) 2011.

I-CAM-Q summary of 105 individuals in Hungary (Hegyi G. in the framework of CAMbrella) 2011.

Policy of CAM, 11/97 NM, 40/98 Governmental law, 1997, revised 2011.

Opinion on CAM of Hungarian Academy of Sciences (1998, 2003, 2010), (Orvosi Hetilap) book, 2011.

CAM usage in Hungary (Varga, Orsolya, Debrecen University), thesis, 2008.

Arguments for Regulating the Practice of Complementary Medicine in Hungary (Hegyi G.) News of Medical Management, GMI, 2008.