ASMI and Macquarie University to uncover the positive impact of self care on public health

11 September 2013

Return to Media Release Index

Embargoed until Wednesday 11 September 2013 - The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) and Macquarie University have announced a joint research partnership that will produce for the very first time independent, evidence-based research into the current and future impact of self care and self-medication on public health in Australia.
The extensive research program, which will be conducted in three phases over the next 12 months, will determine the consumer healthcare industry's* value in the Australian economic and healthcare environment, critical insights into consumers' attitudes and behaviour towards self care, and the value of self care in contributing to a sustainable healthcare system in the future.

Welcoming the partnership, ASMI Executive Director Dr Deon Schoombie said:
"A number of recent major reports into the health system have outlined the magnitude of the problem facing the healthcare system.1-3 They all point to rising healthcare costs, increasing and unsustainable government expenditure on health, and a system under enormous pressure from growing demand for health services, especially due to an ageing population.

"This research will provide a deeper understanding of the role of self care in driving better healthcare outcomes for Australians and how it can play a role in preparing for a more sustainable healthcare system, both now and in the future. We are proud to be partnering with Macquarie University to accelerate this understanding."
According to Professor Mark Gabbott, Executive Dean, Faculty of Business and Economics at Macquarie University: "This new partnership demonstrates the university's commitment to growing links between its research leaders and Australian industry partners, to contribute to important pieces of public policy in the area of primary health."
Self care is aimed at empowering consumers through improved health literacy, and equipping them for the prevention and self-management of acute and chronic conditions. At its core is a shift from 'cure' to prevention, and a focus on activities and decisions that people make for themselves so that they maintain a good level of physical and mental health. This includes lifestyle, diet and exercise and appropriate use of medicines.

Non-prescription medicines (or consumer healthcare products), which include over-the-counter (OTC) products and complementary medicines, are a vital component of our nation's healthcare system. These are the medicines and products people often turn to first when illness strikes.

In many ways, consumers have been leading the way towards greater self care for some time. The fact that two-in-three Australians are using complementary medicines and a quarter of all Australians regularly seek health information online are strong indicators of their willingness to take on a more active role in their health.4-5
According to lead researcher Professor Koslow, Professor of Marketing, Faculty of Business and Economics at Macquarie University: "With ageing populations and health conditions becoming increasingly chronic and complex, the healthcare challenges we face are significant. This research seeks to assert consumer sovereignty by providing the insights that will help policymakers understand the value of the consumer choice in their health decisions. It may even go a step further by providing the necessary evidence and impetus for the Australian government and key healthcare authorities to support the expansion of responsible self care practices across the country."

Preliminary results from the three-phased research will be announced in coming months.
-ENDS-
_______________________________________________________________
*About ASMI: The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI) is the peak industry body for the non-prescription consumer healthcare products industry. ASMI members are involved in the manufacture and distribution of a range of health and wellbeing products that include over-the-counter products and complementary medicines. These medicines are available without a prescription, in pharmacies, supermarkets and health food stores. 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

About Macquarie University - Faculty of Business & Economics:
Macquarie University's Faculty of Business and Economics offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses in addition to strong academic research in the fields of accounting and finance, actuarial studies, business, economics, marketing and management. www.businessandeconomics.mq.edu.au/

References:
1. Healthcare: Reform or ration, Committee for Economic Development of Australia, April 2013.
2. Australia to 2050; future challenges, Commonwealth Government, 2010.
3. A healthier future for all Australians, National Health & Hospitals Reform Commission, June 2009.
4. Therapeutic Goods Regulation: Complementary Medicines, Australian National Audit Office, Available at www.anao.gov.au/Publications/Audit-Reports/2011-2012/Therapeutic-Goods-Regulation-Complementary-Medicines/Audit-brochure [last accessed 20 August 2013].
5. Health information and health products online, Better Health Channel. April 2013. Available at http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Health_information_and_health_products_online [last accessed 20 August 2013].

For more information or to arrange a media interview, please contact:
Michelle Sollitt-Davis PR Manager, Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI)
T: 02 9923 9410 M:0422 084 951
E: michelle@asmi.com.au