Document Detail

Prevalence and cost of alternative medicine in Australia.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  8596318     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: To determine the prevalence and cost of alternative medicines and alternative practitioner use in an Australian population. METHODS: We conducted a representative population survey of persons aged 15 or older living in South Australia, which required 3004 personal interviews. We assessed the rates of use and types of alternative medicine and therapists used by this population in 1993, and correlations with other demographic and medical variables. FINDINGS: The overall use of at least one non-medically prescribed alternative medicine (excluding calcium, iron and prescribed vitamins) was 48.5%. The users were more likely to be perimenopausal females, better educated, have a higher alcohol intake, be of normal weight and more likely to be employed than non-users. 20.3% of respondents had visited at least one alternative practitioner, most commonly chiropractors (15%). The users of alternative practitioners were more likely to be younger, live in the country and be overweight. Women were more likely to consult naturopaths, iridiologists, and reflexologists than men. INTERPRETATION: Extrapolation of the costs to the Australian population gives a natural expenditure in 1993, for alternative medicines, of $621 million (Australian dollars) and for alternative therapists of $AU309 million per annum. This compares to the $AU360 million of patient contributions for all classes of pharmaceutical drugs purchased in Australia in 1992/93. The public health and economic ramifications of these huge costs are questioned in view of the paucity of sound safety and efficacy data for many of the therapies and products of the alternative medicine industry.
A H MacLennan; D H Wilson; A W Taylor
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Lancet     Volume:  347     ISSN:  0140-6736     ISO Abbreviation:  Lancet     Publication Date:  1996 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1996-04-12     Completed Date:  1996-04-12     Revised Date:  2004-11-17    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  2985213R     Medline TA:  Lancet     Country:  ENGLAND    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  569-73     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Adelaide, South Australia 5000, Australia.
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MeSH Terms
Complementary Therapies / economics,  utilization*
Costs and Cost Analysis
Data Collection
Health Expenditures
Logistic Models
Middle Aged
Multivariate Analysis
Socioeconomic Factors
Comment In:
Lancet. 1996 Apr 6;347(9006):972-3   [PMID:  8598786 ]
Lancet. 1996 Apr 6;347(9006):972   [PMID:  8598785 ]
Lancet. 1996 Apr 6;347(9006):972   [PMID:  8598783 ]
Lancet. 1996 Apr 6;347(9006):972   [PMID:  8598784 ]

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