Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Cost effectiveness of complementary medicines

A National Institute of Complementary Medicine study into the cost effectiveness of complementary medicine in Australia has found millions in healthcare costs could be saved without compromising patient outcomes if complementary medicine is more widely used.

NICM commissioned Access Economics to undertake a series of cost effectiveness studies of selected CM interventions where a reasonable body of scientific evidence for efficacy and safety of the intervention was available. An expert Reference Group was convened and from a range of CM interventions that were considered for analyses, five were chosen. These included:

* Acupuncture for chronic non-specific low back pain;

* St John's wort for mild to moderate depression;

* A proprietary herbal medicine for pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis;

* Omega-3 fish oils for secondary prevention of heart disease;

* Omega-3 fish oils to reduce non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use in rheumatoid arthritis.

The study found that the first 4 of these were extremely cost-effective, with huge potential savings to the nation's medical costs.

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