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Alternative Medicine Spending Soars:
The amount of money that Americans are shelling out for herbal supplements, meditation, acupuncture and other forms of “alternative” medical care is continuing to skyrocket, according to a new government data out today.
Americans spent $33.9 billion out-of-pocket on “complementary and alternative” or CAM therapies in 2007, according to the nationally representative survey of nearly 24,000 adults conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics.
About $22 billion of that was for products, including classes, materials and non-vitamin, non-mineral natural products such as fish oil, glucosamine and Echinacea. Most of that — $14.8 billion — was for the supplements, according to the results, which were released by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The rest, about $11.9 billion, was for an estimated 354.2 million visits to acupuncturists, chiropractors, massage therapists and other CAM practitioners.
To put the numbers in context, the $14.8 billion is equivalent to about one-third of out-of-pocket spending for regular prescription drugs, and the $11.9 billion is equivalent to about one-quarter of out-of-pocket spending for regular doctors visits. More here>>