NAFKAM Launches Website With Regulatory Info on CAM Regulation in 39 EU Countries

Vinjar Magne Fonnebo, MD, recently shared excellent news with The Global Integrator. The National Research Center in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NAFKAM) in Norway, which Fonnebo directs, has launched “a new website on CAM Regulation.”  Provided there are “details on the regulation of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in 39 European/EU countries.” The website is open-access and available in English.

The 3 core documents on the site were developed through the now-terminated CAMBrella project. From 2010 to 2012, leaders from 12 EU countries and 16 partner institutions, including NAFKAM, conducted exploration of integrative practices and practitioners. Key topics transferred from their work to the site are legal, regulatory, and reimbursement status for 12 identified CAM practices, plus similar information on natural medicine products. A short version of the most significant report is here. Updates to the regulations will be housed in a News section.

In a brief e-interview with the Global Integrator, Fonnebo spoke of future plans: ”We would like to expand this to a global overview of the regulatory situation.” He shared that NAFKAM is working with WHO on the expansion. Fonnebo further noted that, for the United States, the resource would require state-specific regulation since most medical regulation in the United States is at the state level.

Comment: This is a terrific project and resource, both in its current form and in its future intention. As a person who works on the ground mainly in the United States, I can attest that the challenge of disparate regulations in different jurisdictions is frequently confounding. For instance, a naturopathic doctor is licensed as a primary care physician who can legally run a patient-centered medical home in the states of Vermont and Oregon, yet that profession has no licensing in 32 states. Having these regulations for 39 countries in one place will prove a tremendous, time-saving resource for multiple interests and projects.

NAFKAM’s next phase of work with the WHO will be an especially dynamic process. Partly via the strategic direction from WHO, new regulations of products and practitioners in multiple nations are visible monthly. One can imagine a “News” section for these nations that may quickly become more robust that the original database. Side note for the developers: a set of new federal regulations in the United States governing the inclusion of CAM practitioners and integrative health practices is available here: Sections on CAM and Integrative Health in the Affordable Care Act-HR 3590.

Fonnebo (pictured) is a remarkable player in the global movement for integrative health and medicine. NAFKAM was designated in 2008 as a WHO Collaborating Centre for Traditional Medicine; Fonnebo serves as director. I first encountered his work when I learned of the international rump caucus self-referenced as the “Island Group.” These researchers chose to engage head-on the challenges and necessity of embracing new, whole-systems research models to effectively move whole-person, mind-and-body-and-spirit, multi-agent and typically team-based practices. (See Political-Economic Issues in Whole Systems Research Revealed by JACM Roundtable.) Fine work all around, Dr Fonnebo.

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