The issue of structured coexistence of scientific and alternative medical systems: A comparison of east and west German legislation

  • Unschuld P
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Coexistence of modern scientific medicine with traditional or other alternative health care systems is a persisting reality not only in non-Western societies but also in highly industrialized East and West Germany. In this paper, after outlining the attitude of the National Socialist administration (1933-1945) towards this issue, the drug legislation of both East and West Germany is analyzed to assess the official status of alternative therapy in these two countries. While accepting "science" and "efficacy" as the only criteria for determining the kind of drug therapy their populations should be offered, the administrations of both East and West Germany have developed different and unique solutions for reconciling this orientation with the continued demand, by the population, for alternative drug therapy, as provided by homeopathy, anthroposophical healing, and botanical healing. It was found that drug legislation in both East and West Germany not only entails economic and public health considerations but, in addition, reflects socio-political realities and the two governments' attitudes towards a pluralism of world views in their countries. © 1980.

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  • Paul U. Unschuld

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