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Synovate announces result of global survey

Research from Synovate has revealed that people prefer pharmaceutical products to alternative medicines
Research from Synovate has revealed that people prefer pharmaceutical products to alternative medicines and are prepared to look for more information about prescription drugs from sources other than their doctor.

The survey polled people from 12 countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, India and the US and solicited responses from 9,642 people.

Results indicate that 83 per cent of people questioned had not visited alternative medicine practitioners in the last year. That number is lower in India, where people are twice as likely to use natural/herbal products, a fact attributed by Synovate to the country's longstanding tradition for such remedies.

A quarter of the people who responded don't, however, rely on their doctors for advice about medicines and will go to other sources, such as friends, family and the internet. On average, over half would not take medicines prescribed by their doctors unless they had other research to back it up.

According to Synovate, the survey showed that Malaysians were most passionate about this issue, with 82 per cent claiming to rely on additional information obtained from sources other than their doctor.

"This is not surprising: as much as Malaysians believe in their doctors, most will seek a second opinion from other doctors, friends, relatives or colleagues before fully believing in the medication given," said Jennifer Wong of Synovate Healthcare, Malaysia.

Friends, family and second opinions from other doctors took precedence as sources of information over the internet, with only an average of 5 per cent of respondents using it to find out about drugs. American's were not the most prolific users, with only 10 per cent of survey participants claiming to go online for details about medicines, while the Dutch appear more willing to conduct personal research on the net, with 15 per cent saying they had obtained information from websites.

"Despite Dutch respect for GPs, there are discussions currently taking place in the Netherlands in which GPs state their fear of "Doctor Google" - that is patients using Google as their main diagnostic tool," said Reinier Heutink, director of Synovate, Netherlands. "People do want to be prepared and informed and be sparring partners with the GPs."

10th June 2008

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