Go directly to legislation of specific CAM therapies in Serbia:
Acupuncture – Anthroposophic medicine – Ayurveda – Chiropractic – Herbal medicine/Phytotherapy – Homeopathy – Massage – Naprapathy – Naturopathy – Neural therapy – Osteopathy – Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) - Other treatments
The Republic of Serbia (hereinafter Serbia) applied for European Union (EU) membership 22 December 2009 and is listed as a potential candidate country to EU (11). Serbia is connected to the FP7 research programme through a memorandum of understanding and as such included in the CAMbrella survey of CAM legislation in Europe. Serbia became a member state of the Council of Europe on 3 April 2003 (12).
The legal and regulatory status of CAM and CAM practices
The health legislation in Serbia is in transition towards mainstream European healthcare regulation and European standards (243). Different health strategy documents are issued for the period from 2002-2015. The perception of health and illness has moved towards lifestyle and health risk factors and consequently national health problems are addressed with preventive healthcare programs (243).
Complementary and alternative medicine in Serbia has been legally regulated since 2005.
The new Law on Civil Health Protection (Healthcare Law) includes three articles dealing with alternative medicine (244). A CAM bylaw to the Healthcare law was approved by the Minister of Health in December 2007. (“Pravilnik o blizim uslovima, nacinu I postupku obavljanja metoda I postupaka tradicionalne medicine”) (245).
The bylaw lists the following CAM methods as suitable for practise in Serbia:
A. Methods of treatment: Ayurveda, Chinese traditional medicine, Homeopathy, Phytotherapy, Bioresonance therapy, Chiropractic, Macrobiotics, Traditional local medicine.
B. Methods of health promotion: Apitherapy, Aromatherapy, Chi Gong, Spiritual medicine, Energy medicine, Yoga, Tai chi chuan, others.
According to the bylaw, CAM may be practised only by health workers, i.e. physicians, stomatologists, pharmacists, nurses and medical technicians (like physiotherapists)(246). CAM is recognized by the national medical association as an additional qualification for medical doctors (247). Postgraduate training courses in CAM therapies are offered at private teaching centers (247).
For all health workers and all CAM treatments the regulation is the same. Officially all health workers are allowed to practise CAM after relevant education. There are variations regarding education in various methods, and efforts are introduced to stimulate and support the improvement of the education (246).
The Commission for Traditional medicine within the Ministry of health is dealing with various matters covered by the bylaw. The main task of the commission so far has been to refer to the Minister of health which institutions and which practitioners that are eligible for obtaining work permits. The Minister of Health issues permits (246).
Diplomas are issued by both relevant “sections” of the Serbian medical association (there are e.g. section of acupuncture and section of homeopathy) and by associations organized by (mostly) health workers interested in a relevant CAM method. The local medical association is not involved in recognition of diplomas (246).
The governmental supervision of CAM Practices
CAM practice is supervised by the Traditional Medicine Committee of the Serbian Ministry of Health (34). The Minister shall issue “Regulation on detailed conditions for issuing, renewal and revocation of licences of health professionals” to Members of Commerce. The “Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia (RS)”, no. 119/2007 on the basis of Article 190 Paragraph 8. Law on Health Care (“Official Gazette of RS”, No. 107/05), (16) gives details.
The reimbursement status of CAM practices and medicinal products
CAM is not a part of the existing health insurance scheme. It is practised by private
practitioners and in some health care institutions but patients have to pay for the treatment (246, 248). The regulation of CAM products is a difficult issue which still has to be resolved (246). Medicinal products are recognized through the Medicines and Medical Devices Agency of Serbia (34).
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.
34. WP1 CAMbrella questionnaire. CAMbrella data for Work Package 2 “Legal Status of CAM” Münich: CAMbrella WP1; 2010.
243. Vlahovic Z, Radojkovic D. Healthcare in Serbia in transition period. The EPMA Journal. 2010;1(4):601-6.
244. Health care law adopted 28.11.2005, came into force 10.12.2005, The Parliament of Serbia(2005).
245. “Pravilnik o blizim uslovima, nacinu I postupku obavljanja metoda I postupaka tradicionalne medicine”; Complementary and Alternative medicine, bylaw, Ministry of Health, December 2007, (2007).
246. Dr. Vuk Stambolovic. Email: CAM legislation in Serbia. Belgrade Head, Institute of Social Medicine School of Medicine, University of Belgrade; 2011.
247. Hegyui G. Questionnaire about the status of CAM therapies : (“CAMbrella” Project, EU FP 7): Serbia. Budpest: CAMbrella project; 2010.
248. Health insurance law adopted 28.11.2005, came into force 10.12.2005, The Parliament of Serbia(2005).