Study: Homeopathy patients live longer

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Homeopathy patients live longer and cost less to the health care system

If patients are treated by doctors with complementary additional training in homeopathy, this costs the health care system on average around 7 percent less. This corresponds to a cost saving of 140 euros per patient per year compared to the treatment of conventionally trained doctors. In addition, the general life expectancy of the patients is significantly higher. This is reported by the European Journal of Health Economics, referring to a Dutch study.

The study focuses on the annual expenditure of the Dutch health insurance companies. The researchers compared the costs of patients who can be treated conventionally and those of doctors with additional training in an alternative healing method. Homeopathic patients cost the Dutch healthcare system an average of 15 percent less per year. According to the authors, the lower costs result from fewer hospital stays and less medication. Significant differences were also found in the mortality rate. It is statistically significantly lower in patients treated with complementary treatment. According to the study, the cost differences are particularly large among the age group of over 75 years old who have undergone anthroposophical treatment. There is a saving of almost 400 euros, which makes up a third of the total annual costs. There are major demographic differences: Patients in complementary medicine tend to be younger, female and better educated compared to patients in conventional medicine. However, these differences were adjusted statistically so that the differences in costs are not likely to be attributed to socio-demographic differences.

The results of the study are based on data from over 150,000 policyholders from the Dutch health insurance company Azivo. Information on treatment costs, gender, place of residence as well as birth and death dates of conventionally and complementarily treated patients from 2006 to 2009 were evaluated. For comparison, data from 1913 conventional doctors and 79 doctors with additional complementary training were used.

The authors of the study, Peter Kooreman and Erik W. Baars, also give possible explanations for the differences. Lower costs for patients receiving complementary treatment may also be related, for example, to the fact that privately paid services and medication that are not covered by health insurance funds are not available in the study. Only savings from statutory health insurance were considered. The results of the Dutch study are not easily transferable to other countries, but can be trend-setting. "The study shows that homeopathy research needs to be promoted more strongly in Germany - especially by the German Research Foundation," says Cornelia Bajic, chair of the German Central Association of Homeopathic Doctors (DZVhÄ). (pm, sb)

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Image: - Manfred Gerber /

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