A broader public debate is needed about how to build a sustainable healthcare system

02 May 2014

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2 May 2014 - The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) said that consensus is lacking about how to build a sustainable healthcare system because alternatives have not been considered in a systematic and transparent way.

"We all acknowledge that health costs are blowing out and that we need a more sustainable healthcare system," said Dr Deon Schoombie, ASMI Executive Director. However, we have not had a public debate about alternative approaches to creating this system.

"One option that was not explored by the National Commission of Audit was an approach which encourages consumers to take more responsibility for their health and wellbeing through practices including lifestyle, diet and exercise, and appropriate use of medicines.
"During their deliberations, the National Commission of Audit could have explored options to encourage consumers to embrace self care by taking more responsibility for their health. While financial incentives as a contributor to GP visits was considered, the National Commission of Audit missed an opportunity to explore community-wide educational initiatives across the health sector.

"Several research studies show that consumers who are actively engaged in their health save the healthcare economy billions of dollars through less GP visits and hospital admissions. 1, 2 The Federal Government needs to promote a public debate about how best to build a sustainable healthcare system that includes self care options.
ASMI has been calling for greater self care in Australia and has recently been the catalyst behind the establishment of a Self Care Alliance to look towards a myriad of ways consumers can play a more active and engaged role in managing their health. The Self Care Alliance includes a number of key stakeholders including the Pharmacy Guild, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, GPs and community engagement representatives, amongst others. They will explore ways to encourage and support greater self care in Australia and based on this analysis will make a number of recommendations to Government," said Dr Schoombie.

About ASMI: The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI) is the peak body representing sponsors of non-prescription medicines - over-the-counter (OTC) and complementary medicines. Its members make up 85 per cent of the $4bn self care market. Membership totals 60 companies and ASMI members employ approximately 17,000 people with exports estimated at $600 million annually. ASMI's mission is to promote better health through responsible self care. This means ensuring that safe and effective self care products are readily available to all Australians at a reasonable cost. ASMI works to encourage responsible use by consumers and an increasing role for cost-effective self-medication products as part of the broad national health strategy. www.asmi.com.au

1. Macquarie University Centre for the Health Economy. The value of OTC medicines in Australia. March 2014. http://www.businessandeconomics.mq.edu.au/faculty_docs/mm/FINAL_WEB_COPY_ASMI_ValueStudy_A4_2.pdf
2. Frost and Sullivan. Smart Prevention - Health Care Savings Resulting from the Targeted Use of Dietary Supplements. 2013. http://www.crnusa.org/CRNfoundation/HCCS/chapters/CRNFrostSullivan-fullreport0913.pdf

For more information or to arrange a media interview, please contact:
Marie Kelly-Davies
PR Manager, Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI)
M:0408 256 381 E: marie@asmi.com.au