Portugal | Cam-Regulation


General summary about the country's legislation of CAM.

News - New regulation found after the CAMbrella deliveries:

The Portuguese government has on September 2, 2013 decided new regulation on Acupuncture, Phytotherapy, Homeopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Naturopathy, Osteopathy and Chiropractic. 1st Series No. 168-2-September 2013 1 Law No. 71/2013 September 2 amends law no 45/2003 of 22 August. The law relates to exercise of professional  activities applied in unconventional therapies. The law applies to all professionals engaged in practice of the above listed treatments. Professional titles are protected and are only allowed to holders of the relevant practicing certificate. The ACSS (The Central Administration of Health System) organizes and maintain an updated, official register of those CAM professionals affected by the law (319).

Notice! All text below is copied from the CAMbrella report - delivered Dec 31, 2012

In this summary, you will find:

  • Direct links to the legislation of specific CAM therapies in Portugal
  • The legal and regulatory status of CAM and CAM practices in Portugal
  • The governmental supervision of CAM Practices in Portugal
  • The reimbursement status of CAM practices and medicinal products in Portugal

Go directly to legislation of specific CAM therapies in Portugal:
Acupuncture – Anthroposophic medicine – Ayurveda – Chiropractic – Herbal medicine/Phytotherapy – Homeopathy – Massage – Naprapathy – Naturopathy – Neural therapy – Osteopathy – Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) - Other treatments

Portugal became a member of the European Union in 1986 (11) and a member of the Council of Europe in 1976 (12).

The legal and regulatory status of CAM and CAM practices

Since 2003 six CAM therapies have been recognized by the Portuguese Law No 45/2003 of 22 august 2003 on the provision of non-conventional therapies. The regulated CAM therapies are acupuncture, homeopathy, osteopathy, chiropractic, naturopathy and phytotherapy (231).

CAM terminology adopted by governmental policy in Portugal is “nonconventional therapeutics” (232, 233). The word “medicine” was banned from the term and the new bill legitimises and defines “non-conventional therapeutics” (233).
Since 2002 the Medical Council has included medical acupuncture as a “medical competency” (233, 234). Since 2003 Acupuncture treatment provided by non-medical practitioners has been regulated by the Portuguese Law No 45/2003 of 22 August 2003 on the provision of non-conventional therapies (231)

The recognition of non-conventional therapeutics as different from conventional medicine and the use of distinct processes of diagnosis and their own therapeutics is expressed in the law (231, 232). Further the law recognized technical and ideological autonomy in the professional activity of the practice of non-conventional therapeutics (231,232). Article 13 on the Law No. 45/2003 states that “the citizens have right to choose freely the therapeutic that they prefer”(231).

The law No 45/2003 did not define criteria for practise and curriculum for CAM professionals (233). The statutory regulation for non-conventional practitioners states that in order for someone to practise a regulated therapy they have to be registered through the Government established system (Article 10) (50, 231).

An official Portuguese Government/State Inter-Ministerial Commission to Study and Propose the Regulation of “Non- Conventional Therapeutics” was to be established to draft detailed law regulations of CAM professionals (235). Rules relating to qualifications and professional status, including procedure for accreditation, training and certification of non-conventional therapy professionals were to be implemented before the end of 2005. Up to date that has not happened.

On 21 October 2011 in the National Assembly (RA), there was a unanimous vote of approval to the draft resolution No 146/2011, with publication in the Official Gazette No 215, Series I, 09/11/2011. The Government recommends that the regulations on Law no 45/2003 of 22 August, based on the framework of the therapeutic/non-conventional medicine are approved (http://dre.pt/redirect.html).

No protected titles were found for the regulated CAM therapies. The regulated professions physiotherapist and masseur are registered in the EU regulated professions database.

The governmental supervision of CAM Practices

The practice of non-conventional therapeutics is to be accredited and supervised by the Ministry of Health (CAM law 2003, article 6 “Supervision and Professional Accreditation”) (231).

The reimbursement status of CAM practices and medicinal products

Reimbursement is covered if the treatment is given by medical doctors (234)


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.

50. ECCH. The Legal Situation for the Practice of Homeopathy in Europe; An ECCH report; Oct 2010; Revised Edition 2011,. Brussels: European Central Council of Homeopaths 2010.

231. Portuguese Law No 45/2003 of 22 august 2003 on the provision of non-conventional therapies: Project of law No 263/IX (for framing the base of the non-conventional medicines) and Project of law No 27/IX (Legal procedures of the non-conventional therapies). Assembleia da República(2003).

232. WHO. Challenges and progress on integration of TM/CAM Into national health system Brazil 2008 [updated 13 May 08; cited 2011 02 October]; Available from: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&sqi=2&ved=0CB0QFjAA&url=http%3A%2%2F189.28.128.100%2Fdab%2Fdocs%2Feventos%2Fseminario_pnpic%2Fdia13_

233. Almeida J. Email: Some information about CAM and Portugal. Birmingham 2011

234. CAMbrella Work Package 1. Questionnaire definition and terminology of CAM and Legal status of CAM. In: CAMbrella WP1, editor. Münich 2010

2235. The Assembly of the Republic of Portugal. The Official Portuguese Government / State Inter-Ministerial Commission to Study and Propose the Regulation of Osteopathy (Law 45 / 2003 -Conjunct Dispatch nº 261 / 2005; – Resolution of the Assembly of the Republic No. 64/2003 of 15 July 2003 on the regulation of osteopathy. (Diário da República, Part I-A, 28 July 2003, No. 172, p. 4389) 2003 [cited 2012 March 2012]; Available from: http://www.osteopathy.org/find-anosteopath/Augusto-Henriques-RuaViscondedeSeabra.

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