Fish oil study provides fresh evidence of community health and economic benefits

29 February 2012

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The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI), the industry body representing non-prescription consumer healthcare products, is advocating an expanded role for fish oil supplements for patients with coronary heart disease, following encouraging new research.

The latest research undertaken by Deloitte Access Economics identifies savings of approximately $4.2 billion through avoidance of disease burden and premature life loss as a result of the preventative use of fish oils in patients with heart disease. 1
The Executive Director of ASMI, Dr Deon Schoombie said the analysis supports the wider use of fish oil supplements as a cost effective means of providing secondary prevention in patients with cardiovascular disease.

"Fish oil is backed with strong scientific evidence to support its effectiveness and claims around cardiovascular benefits. This new study now compares the cost of the therapy versus the benefit to the individual and broader community. The results are compelling," said Dr Schoombie.

"With positive cost benefit outcomes such as these, it merits serious consideration by government into ways of more formally integrating complementary medicines into the broader preventative health agenda.

"Specifically, it should be looking at ways to expand the uptake and usage of such therapies proven to have a positive impact on some of the nation's big killers such as cardiovascular disease, which now affects almost one-in-five Australians. 2 3
"This should provide further evidence to government of the need to expand the role of evidence-based complementary therapies such as fish oil in the broader healthcare agenda," Dr Schoombie said.

Organisations which have endorsed the cardiovascular benefits of fish oil include the National Health and Medical Research Council, the National Heart Foundation of Australia and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
About ASMI: The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI) is the peak industry body for the Australian self care industry representing consumer healthcare products including over-the-counter medicines and complementary medicines. 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.

Media contact: Bob Bowden, Foresight Communications (02) 9241 2811, 0412 753 298


1 Lynne Pezzullo, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu
2 GISSI-Prevenzione Investigators. Dietary supplementation with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E after myocardial infarction: results of the GISSI-Prevenzione trial. Lancet. 1999; 354: 447-455.
3 Burr ML, Fehily AM, Gilbert JF, Rogers S, Holliday RM, Sweetnam PM, Elwood PC, Deadman NM. Effects of changes in fat, fish, and fibre intakes on death and myocardial reinfarction: diet and reinfarction trial (DART). Lancet. 1989 Sep 30;2(8666):757-61.