Cost Effectiveness of Complementary Medicine (Report)

3 Vital Investment Priorities

A NICM study into the cost-effectiveness of complementary medicine in Australia has found that millions of dollars 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;
  • 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; and
  • A proprietary herbal medicine for pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis.

Four of these interventions proved cost-effective or cost-saving under particular scenarios.

pdf_imageCost Effectiveness of Complementary Medicines Report (PDF, 1266 KB) (opens in a new window)

See also Media release (opens in a new window): 13 September 2010 - Economic report finds complementary medicine could ease health budget


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