Spain to Ban Alternative Medicine and Practices

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. eradicate / ɪˈrædəˌkeɪt / (v) – to eliminate or remove

    The government is developing initiatives to eradicate child labor.

  2. pseudo / ˈsuːdoʊ / (adj) – fake, false, or not real

    She thinks herbal medicine is a pseudo treatment.

  3. dissemination / dɪˌsɛməˈneɪʃən / (n) – the act of spreading information or news widely

    The government will start using social media to make information dissemination quicker.

  4. misleading / ˌmɪsˈliːdɪŋ / (adj) – giving false or wrong ideas

    The public complained about the product’s misleading labels.

  5. prick / prɪk / (v) – to cause a painful feeling on a body part using a sharp object

    I accidentally pricked my finger with a pin.


Read the text below.

Spain has announced its plans to eradicate alternative medicine.

Last November, the Spanish government declared that alternative medicine or unconventional treatments would no longer be available in health centers. This initiative is part of the government’s project called Health Protection Plan Against Pseudo-therapies. The project aims to eliminate alternative medical practices, which are possibly harmful and not scientifically proven.

Spain arrived at this decision after 400 Spanish scientists appealed to the government against pseudo-scientific medical practices. It also came after several deaths of patients who favored alternative treatments over traditional ones.

The government’s project will have four parts. The first part will involve developing a strategy to ensure wider and more effective information dissemination regarding alternative medicine. Second, laws to stop misleading advertisements about alternative treatments will be improved. Private health centers that offer alternative therapies will also be required to inform patients that these practices are ineffective.

The third part will entail removing all alternative practices in health centers to ensure that only health professionals with proper qualifications will practice medicine. Lastly,  universities in Spain will no longer be allowed to provide diplomas related to alternative medicine.

Spain’s Association to Protect Patients against Pseudo-scientific Therapies, a group which supports the project, released a list of alternative medical practices. Included in this list is acupuncture, in which the body is pricked with needles. Another practice is aromatherapy, which uses plant substances that can be inhaled or applied on the skin.

However, the government has not yet officially confirmed what alternative treatments will be prohibited.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you agree with Spain’s decision to ban alternative treatments? Why or why not?
• Aside from banning alternative treatments, how else can governments ensure that people get the right kind of medical treatment? Discuss.

Discussion B

• Would you be willing to try alternative therapies (e.g. aromatherapy, acupuncture)? Why or why not?
• What are your considerations (e.g. cost, effectiveness) when choosing the kind of treatment for your illnesses? Explain.