Investment in complementary medicine research a priority, says ASMI

06 June 2016

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In a submission to the Federal Government on funding priorities for the $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) said complementary medicine research is needed to build the evidence base about the safety, efficacy and public health benefits of these products and to better inform healthcare policy decisions.

The submission, ' Complementary Medicines for Better Health', was prepared by the National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM), with input from ASMI.  

It advocates for funding of complementary medicine research projects to facilitate informed policy decisions on the use of complementary medicines in preventive health and in promoting general health and wellbeing.

ASMI Strategy Manager, Complementary Medicines, Brenda Davy, said: "Complementary medicines is currently the largest and fastest growing segment in health care, with 70 per cent of consumers taking vitamins, minerals and supplements1.

"We know that consumers take complementary medicines to prevent some chronic conditions and contribute to their general health. We also know that if taken on a population-wide basis these medicines  can have positive health outcomes and reduce the financial burden on government2,3,4.,

"However, more research is needed on complementary medicines to provide consumers with the information they need to make informed decisions about their health.

"Equally, policymakers need sound research on which to base healthcare policy and funding decisions.

"Complementary medicines are used in a variety of clinical settings such as general practice, hospitals and allied health practices. We need to know more about how they are being used in these settings," she added.


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1. Macquarie University (2015) Consumer Behaviour Factbook.

 2. Shanahan, C. and de Lorimer, R. (2014) Targeted Use of Complementary Medicines: Potential Health Savings in Australia.

 3. Shanahan, C. and de Lorimer, R. (2013) Smart Prevention - Healthcare Cost Savings Resulting from Targeted Use of Dietary Supplements.

4. Frost and Sullivan (2016) Healthcare Cost Savings of Omega 3 Food Supplements in the European Union.