6 September 2002
Australians are now spending more than $2 billion a year on complementary medicines — more than double the amount they spent in 1993, a new study shows.
The University of Adelaide study, based on 3027 personal interviews, found 52.1 per cent of respondents used at least one non-medically prescribed complementary medicine.
Twenty-three per cent of people had visited at least one alternative practitioner such as an acupuncturist, reflexologist or herbal therapist. But most patients were still leaving their GPs in the dark about their use of complementary therapies, with 57.2 per cent not telling their doctor they were taking them.
The study, published in Prevention, said the $2.3 billion spent in 2000 represented nearly four times the public contribution to all pharmaceuticals.
Among users — who were more likely to be female, educated and employed — 57.2 per cent did not tell their doctor what they took, and many self-prescribed.
Last Reviewed: 09 September 2002