HEALTH

NPF: Dietary supplement industry contributes $60B to national economy

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON A new study funded by the Natural Products Foundation has determined the total economic contribution of the dietary supplement industry to exceed $60 billion dollars, or 0.5% of the national GDP, according to a statement issued Wednesday.

“Not only does the dietary supplement industry represent an important and growing component of the U.S. economy, it is interconnected in essential ways with many other industries,” wrote the study’s authors. “For example, the dietary supplement industry contributes to [spending] in other industries, such as retail and wholesale trade; real estate, rental and leasing; finance and insurance; professional, scientific, and technical services; and manufacturing.”

Dietary supplements generate more than $20 billion in annual consumer sales, but the industry’s overall economic contribution goes well beyond the direct purchase of goods, NPF stated.

The Economic Impact Report, completed by Dobson DaVanzo, a Washington-based economic research firm, is the first to quantify the dietary supplement industry’s total financial bearing on the national economy. It considers multiple tiers of contributing factors, including supply, production, research, direct employment, manufacturing and taxes, as well as these dynamics’ longterm financial effects.

“Most industry assessments typically focus on retail sales,” stated Tracy Taylor, NPF executive director. “Realistically though, sales are really just the tip of the iceberg. … The labor, materials and technology necessary to move any product from staging grounds to the final sale trigger a cascade of economic consequences,” she said. “Consider for example that the dietary supplement trade generates enough activity throughout production and sales to support over 450,000 jobs, and that industry concerns paid more than $10 billion dollars in taxes in 2006.”

Moreover, the dietary supplement industry’s influence is expanding, growing at a rate that exceeds inflation. While health care providers are usually given a “market basket” increase of between 2% and 3% to account for medical and other price increases, the dietary supplement industry is steadily growing at a rate of more than 5% per year.

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New diabetes saliva-based diagnostic test in the works

BY Michael Johnsen

HOUSTON A new saliva-based test for the identification and diagnosis of diabetes is under development, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists announced Tuesday.

Research promoting a painless new method for detecting diabetes, utilizing saliva, will be presented May 15, at the AACE’s 18th Annual Meeting & Clinical Congress in Houston.

While searching for biomarkers that may indicate diabetes, doctors examined the saliva of 40 patients. Through salivary analysis, they managed to devise a new “non-invasive” method for detecting diabetes that foregoes the uncomfortable prick of a needle — patients need only to spit into a cup. The spit test could be performed for little cost in a doctor’s office or at a patient’s home.

“Our goal was to characterize proteins in human saliva that may indicate prediabetes and Type-2,” stated Srinivasa Nagalla, a member of the research team. “Analysis of these proteins allowed us to develop a new method for screening, detecting and monitoring the diabetic state.”

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CDC advises American travelers to delay, avoid trips to Mexico

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention on Monday advised American travelers to avoid all nonessential travel to Mexico.

As of Monday, Mexico has reported 18 laboratory confirmed human cases of swine influenza A/H1N1 infection. Investigation is continuing to clarify the spread and severity of the disease in Mexico. Suspect clinical cases have been reported in 19 of the country’s 32 states. The World Health Organization, the Global Alert and Response Network and CDC have sent experts to Mexico to work with health authorities. CDC has confirmed that seven of 14 respiratory specimens sent to CDC by the Mexican National Influenza Center are positive for swine influenza virus and are similar to the swine influenza viruses recently identified in the United States.

On April 25, the WHO Director-General declared this event a Public Health Emergency of International Concern under the rules of the International Health Regulations. CDC and state public and animal health authorities are currently investigating 20 cases of swine flu in humans in California, Texas, Kansas, Ohio and New York City. Some of the U.S. cases have been linked to travel to Mexico.

At this time, only two of the 20 cases in the U.S. have been hospitalized and all have recovered, but deaths are reported to have occurred in Mexico. CDC is concerned that continued travel by U.S. travelers to Mexico presents a serious risk for further outbreaks of swine flu in the United States.

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