The US market for complementary & alternative medicine (CAM) totalled $30 billion (€34bn) in 2001, according to a recent report from Nutrition Business Journal. Significantly, CAM and mainstream practitioners accounted for $1.24 billion in sales of supplements out of a US total of $17.7 billion in 2001, and they continue to have a major influence on sales of dietary supplements.
The top three CAM services - chiropractic, massage therapy and traditional Chinese medicine/acupuncture - accounted for 94 per cent of total revenues, the report said. Spending on CAM services represented almost 2.5 per cent of the $1.2 trillion in personal healthcare spending in the United States. CAM growth of 12 per cent in 2001 was almost double the 6.6 per cent growth of the more mature US healthcare business.
"The national movement towards CAM integration holds the promise of reducing medical costs and improving healthcare and quality of life," the NBJ said. "It also spells opportunity for enterprises offering CAM services and adjunct products, from educational tools to dietary supplements. Mainstream medical institutions, large insurance companies and employers are starting to recognise the benefits of partnering with experts in CAM to focus on issues such as how integrative approaches might improve employee health and productivity.
"Still, the challenge lies in winning the support of the medical establishment, which will require extensive research on safety, efficacy and contraindications."