Go directly to legislation of specific CAM therapies in Finland:
Acupuncture – Anthroposophic medicine – Ayurveda – Chiropractic – Herbal medicine/Phytotherapy – Homeopathy – Massage – Naprapathy – Naturopathy – Neural therapy – Osteopathy – Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) - Other treatments
Finland became a member of the European Union in 1995 (11) and accessed the Council of Europe on 5 May 1989 (12).
The legal and regulatory status of CAM and CAM practices
The Health Care Professionals Act (105) regulates health professionals with a protected
occupational title. “The profession of professionals with a protected occupational title can also be practised by other persons with adequate training, experience and professional skills and knowledge” (105). Consequently, in Finland anybody (medically and non-medically qualified) may practise CAM (43, 106).
The National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health grants the right to practise the profession of reference (105) and coordinates the automatic recognition of EEA
professionals accepted by the act on recognition of professional qualifications
(193/2007)(105). According to section 24a, a central register of health care professionals is managed by the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (105).
In addition to medical doctors, nurses, midwives and other conventional health professionals, masseurs and physiotherapists are directly mentioned in the law (105). Registered professions of interest in the EU professions database are chiropractors, naprapaths, osteopaths, masseurs and physiotherapists (7). These professions are allowed to practise medicine, diagnose patients and charge fees (44, 105).
The governmental supervision of CAM Practices
The National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health is responsible for the national guidance and supervision of health care professionals, chapter 5, section 24, health care professionals act (105). Only CAM practitioners regulated as health care practitioners will be supervised according to this law. Medical doctors and registered chiropractors, naprapaths, osteopaths, masseurs and physiotherapists are supervised by the medical authorities in practising medicine. Other CAM practitioners are not supervised, nor is their licensing regulated (44).
The Finnish Medical Board gives the advice in their ”Ethical Guidelines”, that ”…it is
unethical for a doctor to provide treatments that are not ´generally accepted´…”. However, as also many conventional treatments are not fulfilling the criteria for Evidence Based Medicine (EBM), nobody is controlling or prosecuting a doctor who provides CAM therapies, as long as the doctor treats the patient well. Problems could arise if a doctor would advertise to a third party that he or she is practising something else than mainstream medicine (107).
The reimbursement status of CAM practices and medicinal products
CAM treatment is reimbursed if provided by physicians (43). Chiropractic, naprapathy and osteopathy are reimbursed if provided in collaboration with physicians (43). Private
insurance companies cover some CAM treatments (43).
The national healthcare insurance system covers fees for consultation with an anthroposophic physician (106). The patient receives partial reimbursement of any consultation with a doctor, independently of what sort of treatment the doctor provides, whether this is homeopathy, acupuncture or anthroposophic medicine (107).
7. The European Commission. Regulated professions database. Brussels: EUROPA; 2011 [cited 2012 February 10, ]; Available from: http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/qualifications/regprof/index.cfm?fuseaction=regProf.index.
11. EUROPA. Gateway to the European Union; member countries. Brussels EUROPA
Communication department of the European Commission; 2011 [cited 2011 November 3]; Available from: http://europa.eu/about-eu/countries/index_en.htm.
12. Council of Europe. Council of Europe. Strasbourg: Council of Europe; 2011 [cited 2011
November 7]; Available from: http://www.coe.int/lportal/web/coe-portal.
43. Ersdal G, CAM-CANCER consortium. How are European patients safeguarded when using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)? Jurisdiction, supervision and reimbursement status in the EEA area (EU and EFTA) and Switzerland. Tromsø: NAFKAM, University of Tromsø 2005 28 October Report No.: Report CAM 21.11.05-1.doc.
44. Legal Status of Traditional Medicine and Complementary/Alternative Medicine : A Worldwide Review [database on the Internet]. World Health Organization. 2001 [cited 9 March 2010]. Available from: http://whqlibdoc.who.int/hq/2001/WHO_EDM_TRM_2001.2.pdf, http://hinfo.humaninfo.ro/gsdl/whohss/1.00.0000/en/d/Jh2943e/.
105. No. 559/1994 Act on Health Care Professionals, amended 312/2011 on 1 May 2011, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Finland(1994).
106. CAMDOC Alliance ECH ECPM ICMART and IVAA. The regulatory status of Complementary and Alternative Medicine for medical doctors in Europe. Brussels 2010 January 2010. Report No.: 2010.
107. Dr. Peter Zimmermann President International Federation of anthroposophic medical associations (IVAA). Email: Finland CAM legislation. Helsinki 2012.