In the past, it was rare for a doctor or healthcare professional to sell nutritional supplements out of their practice. Physicians were used to prescribing drug (x) for condition (y). In recent years, however, more and more doctors are selling supplements out of their office for a variety of reasons.
First and foremost, there is a mountain of clinical research supporting the efficacy of nutritional supplements in helping alleviate a variety of medical conditions. Doctors are also using supplements in conjunction to patient lifestyle modification and standard pharmaceutical treatments. With the changes in healthcare over the last few years combined with rising overhead, doctors are looking for new avenues to generate additional revenue. The medical community in general is finding patients are looking more and more for “natural” or “homeopathic” treatments and physicians are in the position to help educate patients on the use of these supplements.
How do doctors evaluate a potential supplement to recommend in their practice? Many medical professionals tend to recommend products that have science to support claims. Those nutritional products that have science to support the efficacy of their product will be the ones that doctors tend to gravitate to for their patients aliments. Make sure to review products that offer benefits supported by science rather than marketing tactics!
Below are some findings from two published reports. The findings come from a report compiled by ChangeWave Research called “Preventive Care and Wellness Trends” and a survey done by the Nutrition Business Journal.
ChangeWave Research Observations
• 41% of doctors recommend that patients take vitamins/nutritional supplements
• 31% of doctors report increased patient interest in preventive care and wellness. Those changes were driven by lifestyle changes but also included supplementation as a means to avoid illness
• Doctors rated Vitamins/Nutritional Supplements as the safest products in the marketplace, even more safe than prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs
• 29% of doctors recommended nutraceutical products to their patients with the top 3 recommendations being Fish/Omega oils, Probiotics, and Fruits and Vegetables/Whole grain/Organic products
Nutrition Business Journal Report
• 76% of practitioners sell supplements in their offices
• 70% of practitioners reported being “very knowledgeable” about supplements and how they can be used to support their patients health (growing trend on physician education on nutrition)
• Prediction that the healthcare practitioner channel of distribution is going to be “one of the most vibrant and fastest-growing sales channels in the nutrition industry for the next 10 years”.
Based on these findings you can see that practices are becoming more involved in the sale of nutritional supplements.
Practices are adopting creative ways to incorporate supplements into their practice without the need to carry any inventory. Some physicians are creating websites, treatment plans, etc. to help encourage patients to use alternative care therapies. Some practices have the physician “recommend” the product and the staff “sells” it. The practices are using the additional revenue to cover increased overhead. Offices often use the revenue to pay for employee raises and incentives. Consider introducing supplementing into your practice today.