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CM sales doubles, industry in ‘good health’

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Complementary medicine (CM) sales have doubled by in three years driven by consumer demand, healthy exports and ‘trade liberalisation’, a new audit reveals

Complementary Medicines Australia (CMA) CEO Carl Gibson, commenting on the 2017 Australian Complementary Medicines Industry Audit, says the industry is in “good health” as Australians continue to invest in their wellbeing.

According to the Audit, the value of sales of Australian CMs has doubled from $2.3bn to $4.7bn in just over three years, with a growth of almost 27%.

The Audit found significant trends that are supporting growth: an ageing population and increase in chronic disease, and the growing awareness of the importance of preventive health.

“While the older population is expected to remain a key driver of the market, the industry is also seeing growth in the youth market, especially in the area of sports nutrition.”

With half of complementary medicine users, now consuming more than one product per day, individuals continue to tailor their supplementation regime to their specific needs and goals. Australian consumers understand that complementary medicines are not a replacement for prescription medicines; rather they use complementary medicines to enhance overall wellbeing and for maintenance of health, the Audit found.

It also found that consumers are seeking ‘clean-label’ complementary medicines, with the same trend seen in the food and beverage markets.

“Consumers are becoming more savvy and conscious about what they put into their mouths. Consumers wish to know if products contain any allergens or any artificial chemicals such as colours, sweeteners or flavours, or genetically modified foods. With this new trend, raw material suppliers and manufacturers are increasingly focusing upon ensuring they meet consumers’ demand for ‘clean’ products.

Pharmacy is also crucial to the sale of complementary medicines, but growth in online sales is the highest performing channel.

“Pharmacies and para pharmacies, where consumers can obtain professional healthcare advice from the pharmacist and in-store health professionals, remain popular outlets to purchase complementary medicines in Australia. [But] online shopping is the fastest growing purchasing channel with an 18.9% growth over the 2015-2016.”

Mr Gibson said part of this growth could be attributed to Government support, “which is bearing fruit”.

“The government will continue support for small to medium enterprises to improve business competitiveness and productivity. Funding for world leading science and research provides important evidence for consumer confidence in the complementary medicines industry. In addition to reducing entry barriers for Australian firms entering foreign markets, the Australian Government is committed to abolishing needless, costly regulation…[and this] will help to drive investment in complementary medicines research, development and innovation and support the Australian industry to remain competitive.”

Complementary medicines’ use worldwide is also growing, particularly in the US, Canada and Asia, the Audit found.

 “Complementary medicines are an important element of healthcare around the world. The use of traditional and complementary medicines is growing worldwide, with the global market expected to reach US$115bn.”


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