HEALTH

Survey: Most practitioners recommend OTC before prescription-only

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Nearly 98% of primary care physicians, nurse practitioners and pharmacists trust and recommend over-the-counter medicines to their patients, according to a new survey released Wednesday by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. Nearly three-fourths of primary care physicians recommend OTC medicines to relieve symptoms before recommending a prescription treatment.

“This new survey clearly shows that, amid a changing healthcare landscape, consumers and healthcare providers agree that OTC medicines are a trusted first line of treatment to alleviate symptoms,” stated Scott Melville, CHPA president and CEO. “The more consumers educate themselves about their OTC treatment choices — and continue to talk with their physicians and pharmacists about their healthcare options — the better that is for improving the health of all Americans and delivering healthcare savings throughout the healthcare system.”

As many as 84% of consumers say they trust their healthcare provider’s advice on what OTC medicine they should take or give to others. Across a range of illnesses, 8-in-10 consumers use OTC medicines to relieve their symptoms without having to see a healthcare professional and more than two-thirds of consumers prefer to use OTC medicines instead of a prescription when available. This is most prevalent across allergy sufferers — half of all those with allergies readily use OTC medicines to alleviate symptoms. 

The findings expand on data from a January 2012 study by Booz & Co. conducted on behalf of CHPA, which found that OTC medicines save consumers and the healthcare system billions of dollars each year. The study found that for every dollar spent on OTC medicines, the U.S. healthcare system saves $6 to $7 — providing $102 billion in value each year. This includes $25 billion in drug cost savings annually through the use of less expensive OTC medicines over prescription drugs, as well as $77 billion in clinical cost savings from avoided doctor’s office visits and diagnostic testing.

For a white paper based on the findings, click here

The survey was conducted by Nielsen and IMS, on behalf of CHPA. 

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HRG co-owner to present session on front-end business to pharmacy students

BY Alaric DeArment

WAUKESHA, Wis. — Hamacher Resource Group will present a session about pharmacy layout, design and OTC merchandising principles to first-year students at Campbell University’s pharmacy school, the retail consumer healthcare industry market research firm said Wednesday.

The company said that this would be the fifth year in which HRG co-owner and national account manager Tom Boyer would present at the school, in Buies Creek, N.C. The presentation will take place March 13. The company said the purpose of the session was to help students understand the importance of a pharmacy’s nonprescription business.

"It’s helpful to expose the students to these ideas early on, and the session is a great catalyst for further discussion," Campbell University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences professor Bob Cisneros said. "Tom, with all of his years of experience, makes the principles relatable for the students."

 

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Nutritional Magnesium Association critiques recent U.S. Preventive Services Task Force report

BY Michael Johnsen

LOS ANGELES — The Nutritional Magnesium Association on Wednesday noted magnesium is an essential nutrient that helps absorb necessary nutritional supplements like vitamin D or calcium in response to a recent U.S. Preventive Services Task Force report that suggested supplementing with these ingredients may not help prevent bone fractures in postmenopausal women, while also increasing the risk of kidney stones. 

"Adequate levels of magnesium in the body are essential for the absorption and metabolism of vitamin D and calcium," stated Carolyn Dean, magnesium expert and medical advisory board member for NMA. "Magnesium converts vitamin D into its active form so that it can help calcium absorption and help prevent clogged arteries by drawing calcium out of the blood and soft tissues back into the bones where it is needed to build healthy bone structure," she said. "Nutrients act in a synergetic way in the body. Absorption and metabolism of a particular nutrient will be affected, to a greater or lesser degree, by the other nutrients available to the body. This is also true with vitamin D."

According to the nonprofit Vitamin D Council, "In order to receive the most health benefit from increased levels of vitamin D, the proper cofactors must be present in the body … magnesium, vitamin K, vitamin A, zinc and boron."

"It is vitally important that studies on the efficacy of vitamin D and calcium in relation to bone health are not done in isolation in the absence of magnesium," Dean said. "The fact that magnesium works synergistically with vitamin D and calcium by stimulating the specific hormone calcitonin—which helps to preserve bone structure and draws calcium out of the blood and soft tissues back into the bones, preventing osteoporosis, some forms of arthritis and kidney stones — cannot be overlooked."


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