1.1 Definition and Introduction
Homeopathy is a concept created in 1796 by a German doctor, Samuel Hahnemann. It is based on the idea that a substance that causes a symptom can be used to treat the same symptom of the disease. Practitioners using homeopathy believe that it works by stimulating the body to heal itself.
The global market for homeopathy has grown strongly in recent years and is expected to continue to grow in the next six to seven years. Europe currently represents the largest market for this alternative medicine, followed by North America and Asia. However, it is on the latter continent that the increase in sales should be the most significant, with a high cumulated annual growth rate due in particular to the full market entry of the largest homeopathic laboratories. France, for its part, is one of the main countries consuming homeopathy, since it is estimated that 56% of French people have already used this form of treatment [L'Usine Nouvelle]. France is therefore home to a mature market with consumers who are loyal and educated in homeopathy.
The French market is dominated by historical players such as the Boiron laboratory, which holds 61% of the market share [L'Usine Nouvelle], and the Lehning laboratory. Other groups have entered this market more recently, such as the Gilbert group, traditionally specialized in child health and cosmetics.
Homeopathy risks seeing its position as an ideal complement to traditional medicine threatened by the decision taken in 2019 by Agnès Buzyn, then Minister of Health, to reduce and then stop the reimbursement of homeopathic care by the Social Security. Whereas many of these treatments were previously reimbursed at a rate of 30%, they will not be reimbursed at all as of January 1, 2021. The laboratories worry about the impact of this legislation on sales but the effect on demand is yet to be observed.
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