Economy, concern over side effects give consumers a ‘natural’ push

More consumers are being driven toward natural and homeopathic solutions, provided by such regional drug stores as Ohio’s Ritzman Pharmacies.

WADSWORTH, Ohio —The economy, coupled with rising healthcare coverage rates, is driving more people to self treat, suggested Jon Fiume, VP retail operations for Ritzman Pharmacies. And it’s perhaps for that reason that consumers are driven more toward “natural” products in their search for an over-the-counter solution, especially in Ritzman Pharmacies, an Ohio pharmacy known for its more natural bend.

“We are seeing those that are concerned about the side effects of traditional over-the-counter products seek something different,” Fiume told Drug Store News. Homeopathic remedies have proven to be a perfect substitution for many allopathic remedies on the market today, he added (see the Virtual Homeopathy Roundtable, page 21).

Homeopathy has the potential to be a gateway category for all things natural, including other wellness-related products, such as multivitamins, essential fatty acids and calcium.

Education of the customer can be a key component in driving more sales of natural products, but only to the extent that the consumer needs, Fiume cautioned. “In other words, to say to the health-and-wellness consumers that homeopathics are safe and have no side effects is different than telling them about the homeopathic fundamental principle of the law of similars,” he said. “Consumer education is important, if possible; however, it is not always necessary.”

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