A new survey conducted in March 2009 by Harris Interactive? and commissioned by Bionorica shows that while 90% of parents claim to be at least somewhat knowledgeable about the level of effectiveness and the possible dangers associated with over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold products for children, 62% still give these products to children when they are experiencing cough and cold symptoms.
Additionally, 16% of the general public had never heard about the possible dangers of current OTC cough and cold products for children.
“It’s very concerning to me that so many parents are still giving their children these OTC cough and cold products with the possible associated dangers and the question of their effectiveness in children,” said Marcela Dominguez, MD, certified family medicine physician on staff at Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center and in private practice in South Orange County.
The new survey also shows that 84% of the general public says they are at least somewhat knowledgeable about where to find credible information about OTCs. The media and the Internet were cited by a majority (70%) as a source of information about the possible dangers of these products with 73% of parents receiving information about this through the same channels. Less than half of parents (41%) say they have heard about the possible dangers of OTC cough and cold medications from a doctor and almost as many have heard this from family members or friends (39%).
Additionally, 60% of adults said they would be more likely to use a natural remedy if it was recommended by a doctor but the survey shows that 83% had never discussed natural remedies with their doctor and only 27% had even discussed the potential for dangerous drug interactions with their physicians.
“While the news media can be a good source of information for the public, information on the Internet is not always reliable nor should it replace the patient/physician dialogue,” said Narinder Duggal, MD, internist, pharmacologist, and clinical associate professor, school of pharmacy, University of Washington. “It’s alarming to me that so few people talk to their doctors about the effectiveness and dangers of health products before they take them or give them to their children.”
Just last fall the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine released survey results that found 38% of adults and 12% of children were using complementary and alternative medicines. This new survey shows that the desire to use these remedies is high and that the public might be using natural remedies more if the products had credible information (a proven track record and clinical testing) to support their claims.
When discussing natural options, three-quarters (76%) of adults said they would be interested in taking natural remedies, with roughly the same number (74%) wishing there were more natural remedy alternatives to prescription and OTC drugs. Additionally, 73% of parents agree they’d be interested in having their children take natural remedies while only 23% are currently giving children natural remedies when they experience cough and cold symptoms. Among the top reasons that would make someone more likely to take natural remedies are one or more of the following: 1) a proven track record (65%); 2) no harmful side effects (63%); and 3) clinical testing (60%).
“Consumers need to know which natural products have scientific research showing they are safe and effective for adults and children,” said Dr. Duggal. “It’s important for people to be sure that they are relying on products that have strong clinical science behind them so they don’t waste money on products that have not been shown to be effective.”
According to recent industry reports, sales remain strong for vitamins and supplements even in today’s economy, due to a desire for natural products and the cost of prescription medications. The new survey findings support this trend, showing 68% of adults, including 65% of adults making $35,000 or less per year, would be willing to pay a few dollars more for a natural remedy if there was scientific proof that it worked.
“Bionorica is one of the first phytopharmaceutical companies that tested herbal medicines in controlled double-blind studies. We understand the need for scientific evidence to support health care products,” said Bionorica Germany CEO and pharmacist, Professor Michael A. Popp. “The company prides itself on delivering natural products that have been quality-controlled from the seed to the bottle.” He continued, “Bionorica is pleased to bring Sinupret, the natural remedy for sinus, respiratory and immune support to the US for adults and children. We look forward to bringing other research-based natural remedies to the US this year.”
Source: Bionorica, USA