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How Much of the Growing CAM Market is Fueled by Dietary Supplement Sales?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announced the results of a 2007 survey that showed Americans spent $33.9 billion on integrative medicine, or complementary & alternative medicine (CAM) as it is commonly referred to, over the previous 12 months. That represents nearly 1.5% of total healthcare expenditures and 11.2% of total out-of-pocket healthcare expenditures in the United States. The CAM portion of the 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) was sponsored by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and concluded that approximately 38% of adults use some form of integrative medicine.

U.S. adults spent $11.9 billion on 354 million visits to practitioners. Approximately $15 billion or 44% of all integrative medicine out-of-pocket expenses were spent on non-vitamin, non-mineral, natural products such as fish oil, glucosamine and echinacea, according to NIH and NCCAM. The survey asked participants about 45 dietary supplements, including androstenedione, carnitine, creatine, DHEA, fish oils, glucosamine, lutein, lycopene, melatonin, omega fatty acids, prebiotics or probiotics and SAM-e, but not vitamins or minerals. “With so many Americans using and spending money on CAM therapies, it is extremely important to know whether the products and practices they use are safe and effective,” said Josephine Briggs, MD, director of NCCAM. “This underscores the importance of conducting rigorous research and providing evidence-based information on CAM so that health care providers and the public can make well-informed decisions.”

More than 1.3 billion integrative medicine healthcare practitioners operate in the United States, according to Nutrition Business Journal estimates. The total number of practitioners grew 3.8% in 2007, indicating a growing acceptance of alternative therapies and treatment options in the country. Medical doctors and nurses represent the largest portion of integrative medicine practitioners, with more than 700,000 now offering some form of integrative therapy or treatment, according to NBJ research. NBJ forecasts indicate that the number of U.S. integrative medicine practitioners could expand by more than 40% over the next 10 years.

NBJ offers a 10-year historical analysis of the U.S. integrative medicine market, including supplement sales and therapy revenues by healthcare practitioner type in the 2009 Integrative Medicine Report. It can be of value to health care professionals, business planners, investors, product developers, ingredient suppliers and others requiring an accurate snapshot, a reliable forecast and a comprehensive reference on the integrative medicine business.

Related Links:

If the Science is There, Obama Says He Will Back Complementary & Alternative Therapies

Briggs: Supplement Use Is Being Influenced by Science

The Inclusion of CAM in the Classroom is changing the Face of Medical Education

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