South America - ICMART Activities

Report Acupuncture in Brazil

By Dr. Helena Pinto-Ferrara MD, Portugal, May 16 2012

This past March, an important court ruling with national impact was issued in Brazil. Due to the growth of acupuncture as a medical specialty, the councils of other health care professions (Physiotherapy, Nursing, Pharmacy, Bio-Sciences and Psychology), decided to authorize the practice of acupuncture by their members. In 2001 the Federal Council of Medicine (CFM) and the Brazilian Medical Acupuncture College (CMBA) filed a lawsuit against the previous decisions of these councils. Below a summary of the final decision of the TRF second assessment of CFM.

"The Federal Court Fund (TRF) of the 1st Region decided on Tuesday (March 27, 2012) that acupuncture is a exclusively medical practice. The decision is in favor of a series of actions through which the Federal Council of Medicine (CFM ) since 2001 called for the annulment of the resolutions authorizing psychologists, pharmacists and physiotherapists professional use of acupuncture techniques. Resolutions formed the body of rules of the Federal Council of Psychology (CFP), Pharmacy (CFF) and Physical and Occupational Therapy ( COFFITO). Acupuncture is taken by CFM as a speciality of medicine, as well as, for example, pediatrics, cardiology and psychiatry.

The judges composing the 7th Class Supplemental TRF of the 1st Region concluded unanimously that CFP, CFF and COFFITO can not regulate the practice of acupuncture. The Court upheld the arguments of the CFM that acupuncture treats disease in Brazil and that diagnosis and treatment of diseases are exclusive activities of physicians.

The applicable appeals against the merits of the decision of the Federal Court of the 1st Region  will not suspend the implementation of this rule, which will go into  effect,  as soon as the judgment of the Court is published and the resolutions that ensure that professionals not qualified in medical practice of acupuncture have their practices terminated.

"Acupuncture is confirmed with this decision a exclusively medical activity, which is consistent with the complaints that the Federal Council of Medicine since 2001 and 2002 claims," ​​said Carlos Vital, vice president of CFM. "The decision is historic and relevant. The Court recognized the impropriety of the practice of acupuncture by health professionals who are not doctors," says Dirceu Sales, a member of the Technical Chamber of Acupuncture CFM and former president of the Brazilian Medical College Acupuncture. "The practice of acupuncture requires ability to identify and conduct of a clinical case, and that requires medical training. You can not treat a pain, for example, without first having a diagnosis," he adds.

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