On 24 July 2013 the Portuguese Parliament adopted a bill regulating 7 non-conventional (also called complementary) therapies including homeopathy, acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, naturopathy, herbal medicine, osteopathy and chiropractics. The law came into force on 2 September 2013 (Lei No. 71/2013) and in fact revived the 10-year old Law 45/2003 that was never implemented.
The new law stipulates that these CAM modalities can only be practised by professionals with higher education qualifications and a publicly registered professional license.
Access to the registers of these CAM professions will depend on the ownership of a degree in one of the therapies, obtained following an education consistent with the requirements set by members of the Government responsible for health and higher education. Requirements for the practice of these modalities should follow the WHO guidelines and those issued by the Portuguese Agency for Assessment and Accreditation of Higher Education and the Directorate-General of Health.
The exercise of the professions is permitted only to holders of a professional license issued by the Central Administration of the Health System. A register will allow identification of the health professionals holding the adequate qualifications.The use of professional titles is only permitted to holders of such a license.
The law also stipulates that health professionals keep a patient record, provide accurate and understandable information about the prognosis and treatment duration, verify the patient’s consent, do not falsely claim that the therapies can cure illnesses, dysfunction or malformations, and have a liability insurance.
The Minister of Health has established the Advisory Council for Non-conventional therapies that will specify requirements related to exercise, training and regulation of the professions. The Council will comprise representatives of the Central Administration of the Health System, the Directorate-General of Health, the Ministry responsible for higher education, the Ministry responsible for labour, the individual professions (two from each profession, nominated by the most representative professional organisations), the Medical Council, the Order of Pharmacists, Faculty members nominated by educational institutes, and patients’ organisations.
There is a transitional provision for health professionals currently practising a particular CAM modality. To qualify for a license, these health professionals are to submit proof as to their registration in a social security scheme and their level of education and training. Depending on the quality of the submitted data, the Central Administration of the Health System is to decide on the issuance of a license, an interim license or no license at all.
Directive 2001/83/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Community code relating to medicinal products for human use, which includes homeopathic medicinal products, was transposed into national law and the new Portuguese Medicines Decree (Ministério da Saúde Decreto-Lei no. 176/2006 de 30 de Agosto) which came into force on 1 September 2006.