It seems that there’s a sentiment about healthcare that echoes Twisted Sister’s 1984 hit “We’re Not Gonna Take It!” In short, consumers appear to be pretty fed up with prescription drugs and healthcare costs and have become more suspicious of drugs’ side effects and other safety issues.
It’s a trend that’s showing in consumers’ spending habits, too. People are turning away from business as usual and turning towards nutrition in greater numbers. According to an article from Nutraceuticals World, if this trend continues, then "for the first time in history, the nutrition industry will make major inroads into the prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drug sectors.”
Here are some of the stats reflective of those taking charge of their own health:
According to a Harris Interactive poll, in 2008, 76% of those surveyed managed their own overall health without consulting a physician. In the same poll, 82% of those who were treated by a physician during the past year decided that they would manage their own care from that point on.
Consumer confidence in the FDA took a hit, too, with 58% of consumers polled saying that the FDA is doing a fair/poor job of ensuring the safety and efficacy of prescription drugs. That number is up 9% from the previous year.
Furthermore, consumers are looking to more natural solutions in managing their health. For example, our nation’s sales of homeopathic medicines have seen double-digit growth for the past several years. In 2008 alone, homeopathic sales were at $860 million. Even sleep has gone natural, so to speak. Six of the top 10 best-selling non-prescription sleep aids sold in drug stores were natural remedies.
But that’s not all. Fifty-six percent of adults—about 121 million—used nutritional supplements in 2009, with 62% of polled consumers who “agree a lot” that taking vitamins/minerals make a difference, and 29% who say that taking vitamins/minerals makes at least a “little” difference in their health.
Maybe that’s why multivitamins sales are up—as are sales for glucosamine/chondroitin, calcium, omega-3/fish oil, children’s multivitamins, vitamin C, vitamin B, CoQ10, and vitamin B complex.
There are a range of interests, too, for those proactively stepping up their personal health, including joint health, digestive/liver health, heart health, immune support, skin, oral, eye and brain/mental health—to name a few.
Then there’s food.
Sales of functional foods/drinks totaled more than $30 billion in 2008—up 6% over 2007. Sales are projected to reach $43 billion by the year 2013. When polled, nine out of 10 food shoppers were concerned about the nutritional content of their food. Food that “helps me maintain a healthy diet” has become one of the most important factors cited by consumers.
Perhaps the message is getting across loud and clear. Consumers are starting to take a much more proactive role in their health, indicating that they’re not going to take the healthcare uncertainty lying down.
No. They’re not gonna take it.