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New alternative medicine laws for Portugal


Practicing alternative medicine in Portugal will require a professional licence and higher education. The Portuguese government approved a law concerningunconventional therapies and alternative medicines, stipulating these can only be practiced by professionals with higher education qualifications and a public registered professional licence.

The new law was approved by the Council of Ministers, and establishes the legal regime entry for professionals working in acupuncture, homeopathy, osteopathy, naturopathy, phytotherapy and chiropractic.

As a result of guidelines by the World Health Organisation, the law establishes the six professional profiles for each one of the alternative medical practices, and determines that any practitioner in these areas must have third-level or higher education, with respective study areas specified by complementary laws.

Practicing alternative medicine will also imply having a public registered licence, which will allow identification of the practitioners holding the adequate qualifications.

This law is a ruling by Lisbon’s Administrative Court, dating back to late August, ordering the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health to establish a regulatory framework for the law about unconventional therapies, approved in 2003 and awaiting working regulations since then.

At the time, the (former) Ministry of Education and Science declared that, by the end of the year, proposals in law concerning alternative medicines would be prepared jointly with the Ministry of Health and would be submitted to Parliament for approval.

The Administrative Court ruling came as a response to legal action undertaken by AMENA, the Association of Natural and Biotherapeutics Medicine, which considered the previous laws, proposed by the Directorate General of Health, to be "illegal and unconstitutional”.

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