Who pays for mistletoe therapy?

In Germany, statutory health insurance covers the costs of mistletoe therapy with the preparations abnobaVISCUM®, Helixor®, Iscador® and Iscucin® for all advanced, i.e. palliative, disease stages. This requires a prescription. The term "palliative tumour therapy" means that there is no expectation of curing the disease, but that the therapy is aimed at alleviating the symptoms, improving quality of life and, if possible, extending survival time.

In an earlier stage of cancer, statutory and private health insurers can cover the costs, but are not required to do so. In exceptional cases, in order to alleviate serious side effects during or after chemotherapy, e.g. tumour-related fatigue syndrome, mistletoe preparations prescribed by a physician can be reimbursed.

In Austria, only Helixor® and Iscador® are approved. Austrian health insurance companies – depending on the type of health insurance – cover the costs for prescribed mistletoe preparations in the palliative situation and, with detailed justification, also in the adjuvant situation. Additionally, another mistletoe preparation, Isorel®, has so-called upright approval in Austria. All things considered, this medication will be generally available there again from spring 2021.

In Switzerland, only Helixor® and Iscador® are approved. The costs for the mistletoe preparations, which are only available on prescription there, are covered by basic insurance if they are prescribed by a doctor.


Last update:July 15th, 2020/AT

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