Portugal | Cam-Regulation


Summary of the country's general legislation of CAM.

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

CAM terminology adopted by governmental policy in Portugal is “non-conventional therapeutics” (232, 233). The word “medicine” was banned from the term and the new bill legitimises and defines “non-conventional therapeutics” (233).

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 process of regulating non-conventional therapies in Portugal is in its final phase. The legislation, initially approved in 2003 (Law no. 45/2003, of August 22), refers to the the approval and supplementary regulation of non-conventional therapies allowing access to the respective practices and safeguarding the safety of users.  On September 2, 2013 the Portuguese government introduced 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 non-conventional therapies. It applies to all professionals engaged in the practice of the above listed treatments. Professional titles are protected and are only allowed to holders of the relevant practicing certificate. The Central Administration of the Health System (‘Administração Central do Sistema de Saúde’, ACSS) established and maintains an updated, official register of those CAM professionals affected by the law (319).

The regulated professions physiotherapist and masseur are registered in the EU regulated professions database.
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.

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.

The Central Administration of the Health System (‘Administração Central do Sistema de Saúde’, ACSS) accessed 18th June 2019

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