Specific complementary medicines can contribute to improved health and reduced consumer health care costs, according to a new study by economic research firm Frost and Sullivan. The study, “Targeted Use of Complementary Medicines: Potential Health Outcomes and Cost Savings in Australia,” commissioned by the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI), concluded that health outcomes are improved and consumers’ out-of-pocket costs associated with medical events are potentially reduced, when specific complementary medicines are used by high-risk target populations.
The report estimated that between 2015 and 2020 average annual hospitalization costs of $922 million can be potentially saved, and average annual productivity gains of $900 million can be realized for the same period if all women older than 50 years who were diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia take a preventive dose of calcium and vitamin D. This translates to a benefit of $22.34 for every one dollar spent on complementary medicines, and more than half of the savings would be realized by individual consumers.
The report also explored the burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD) on Australians and the potential health and economic benefits that can be realized if an omega-3 fatty acid regimen was used by all Australians aged 55 years and older who are diagnosed with CVD.
It was estimated that the relative risk of hospitalization due to a CVD event can be reduced by 4.9 percent and 6,894 average annual medical events avoided between 2015 -2020 if all Australians over 55 years old with CVD were to take omega-3 fatty acids at a preventive level. The average annual benefit cost ratio from 2015 to 2020 would be $8.49 for every dollar spent on the omega-3 fatty acids, with 60 percent of the savings going to individual consumers.