Study Finds Supplement Users Avoid Prescription Drugs Due to Side Effects, Not Cost.

-- Brands Top Rated by Users Also Identified in New Survey by --

White Plains, NY – March 5, 2002 –, traditionally known for its independent laboratory evaluations of dietary supplements and nutritional products, announced surprising findings today from a new survey of supplement users. The survey explored the use of supplements versus other forms of treatment such as prescription drugs, diet, and exercise for various health conditions. It also measured consumers’ satisfaction with specific brands of supplements. Survey results are based on 3,226 responses from members of’s e-Mail Alert List, conducted by Hartman Interactive, the online division of The Hartman Group, Inc., a market research and consulting firm specializing in the health and wellness marketplace.

Notable findings from the 2002 Survey of Vitamin and Supplement Users include the following: (Selected graphs are available at ):

  • Among the health conditions evaluated, those for which supplements were most often taken were “general health” (67%), “colds” (53%), “osteo-arthritis” (39%), “energy enhancement” (37%), “cholesterol-lowering” (29%), “cancer prevention” (28%), “allergy,” (27%), and “weight management” (25%). Fifty-four percent of respondents used supplements for five or more conditions.
  • Only 36% of respondents had used a prescription medication to treat/prevent a condition for which they used a supplement. Prescription use was highest (87%) for treating/preventing asthma, while few respondents had used prescription drugs to treat conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, prostate enlargement, and congestive heart failure.
  • The most common reason for not using a prescription drug was “side-effects” (33%), followed by “not safe” (25%). Only 8% and 4% of respondents respectively cited “not effective” or “not affordable” as reasons for not using a prescription drug (Results varied somewhat by specific medical condition).
  • Diet modification was very common among supplement users, employed, for example, by more than three-quarters of those using supplements for general health, cholesterol lowering, cancer prevention, weight management, heartburn/reflux, hypertension, muscle development, congestive heart failure.
  • Satisfaction with supplement brands was generally high, ranging from 97% to 63% of consumers being highly satisfied with the brands they used. The perceived “quality of ingredients” was found to be the most important determinant of consumer’s overall satisfaction with brands. The highest rated brand was Nutrilite (a multi-level marketing brand). Other brands top-rated in their market categories were Nature’s Way (retail brand), CVS (store brand), and Puritan’s Pride (catalogue brand).
  • To help select brands, seventy-three percent of respondents indicated that they used information from The next most popular sources of information for selecting a supplement brand were magazines (40%), product labels (38%), books (35%), friends/relatives (34%), and other Internet sources (30%).

Two major reports are available for purchase from the survey. One is the Brand Analysis Report which covers 18 leading brands, ranking them by popularity and by overall satisfaction with the brand, ingredient quality, effectiveness, product availability, and overall value; health conditions for which they are used, information sources used to pick brands; and customer comments about each brand. The second report, Supplement Use in Health Conditions, looks at 27 different medical conditions in terms of why consumers used supplements, use of other modalities (prescription medication, diet, exercise, and surgery), brands of supplements used, information used to pick brands, and a comparison of responses from health care providers vs. consumers. The reports can be purchased from separately, together, or in sections focusing on single brands or health conditions. publishes its independent reviews of vitamins, other supplements and nutritional products online at and, later this year as a book. Subscription to’s Product Reviews is available online. To further assist consumers, licenses its flask-shaped CL Seal of Approved Quality to manufacturers for use on products that have passed its testing. Parties interested in purchasing reports or requesting testing of additional products may contact Lisa Sabin, Vice President for Business Development, at [email protected]. is privately held and based in White Plains, New York. It has no ownership from or interest in companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products.

The Hartman Group ( and its online division, Hartman Interactive, specialize in the analysis and interpretation of consumer lifestyles, and how these lifestyles affect the purchase and use of health and wellness products and services.

Copyright, LLC, 2002. All rights reserved. For use by news media only. Not for use by others without prior written consent of

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