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Americans Spent $33.9 Billion Out-of-Pocket on Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Date:7/30/2009

-- with the majority going to the purchase of nonvitamin, nonmineral, natural products ($14.8 billion) such as fish oil, glucosamine and Echinacea. U.S. adults also spent approximately $11.9 billion on an estimated 354.2 million visits to CAM practitioners such as acupuncturists, chiropractors, massage therapists, etc.

To put these figures in context, the $14.8 billion spent on nonvitamin, nonmineral, natural products is equivalent to approximately one-third of total out-of-pocket spending on prescription drugs, and the $11.9 billion spent on CAM practitioner visits is equivalent to approximately one-quarter of total out-of-pocket spending on physician visits.

"These data indicate that the U.S. public makes millions of visits to CAM providers each year and spends billions of dollars for these services, as well as for self-care forms of CAM," said Richard L. Nahin, Ph.D., MPH, acting director of NCCAM's Division of Extramural Research and lead author of the cost of complementary and alternative medicine analysis. "While these expenditures represent just a small fraction of total health care spending in the United States, they constitute a substantial part of out-of-pocket health care costs."

Inclusion and development of the 2007 NHIS supplement was supported, in part, by seven NIH components: NCCAM; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; National Institute of Mental Health; the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; Office of Dietary Supplements; and Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research.

The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) is a component of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). NCHS's mission is to provide statistical information that will guide actions and policies to improve the health of the American people. The CDC protects people's health and safe
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SOURCE National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health
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