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Research Finds Greater Focus on Self-Care Would Save Patients and U.S. Healthcare System Over $5 Billion Annually
Date:6/20/2011

WASHINGTON, June 20, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Americans could avoid approximately 50 million unnecessary visits to primary care physicians each year and save over $5 billion per year with increased self-care, including the safe and effective use of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, according to a recent cost analysis of health management options. These findings—along with a corresponding consumer and physician survey—were released today as part of the launch of Your Health at Hand, a new initiative that highlights the valuable role of OTC medicines in Americans' daily lives and in the United States healthcare system overall.

"This research quantifies what so many consumers already know—over-the-counter medicines provide Americans with safe, effective, and affordable means to conveniently address their healthcare needs," said Scott M. Melville, president and CEO of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA). "As consumers face rising healthcare costs and a pending primary care physician shortage, and as lawmakers look to reign in healthcare spending, these data show how over-the-counter medicines are smart solutions for affordable healthcare, especially at this critical time."  

The survey(i) of primary care physicians, including internists and pediatricians, sponsored by industry, found that on average the physicians surveyed believe that at least 10 percent of visits to their own offices "result from minor ailments which could be managed by the patient, including the use of over-the-counter medicines."

In the corresponding cost-savings study, health economists Paul A. London, Ph.D. and Daniel Shostak, M.P.H., M.P.P., conclude that avoiding just half of the potentially unnecessary office visits to primary care physicians would save approximately 26.3 million appointments or $5.26 billion annually.

"Our research suggests that greater self-management of healthcare, including more use of af
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SOURCE Consumer Healthcare Products Association
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