Consumers around the world have cut back on a range of discretionary purchases to conserve cash. One area where some Canadians have reduced spending is non-prescription medications, with a quarter of those surveyed changing their buying habits in this category, according to a recent report from The Nielsen Company. Steps Canadians are taking include using over-the-counter (OTC) meds less frequently (26%), using less than the recommended dosage (13%), buying smaller quantities (10%) or cutting them out altogether (4%).
As a whole, Canadians are more likely to wait out minor illnesses and conditions before doing anything about them. Almost two-thirds said that they wait to see if a problem gets better before taking OTC medications. Ten percent of those surveyed said they never take non-prescription medications for minor ailments, preferring to tough things out, and some indicating that they believed that using these products could be harmful to their health.
When illness does strike, 17 percent of Canadians take advantage of their medical coverage and visit their doctor for advice (compared with just 9 percent for Americans). They also put a lot of stock in their pharmacist: 40 percent said that the advice from pharmacists was important to them when choosing an OTC medication, compared to just 13 percent in the U.S.
"Canadians can be classified as minimalists when it comes to self-medication, especially in tough economic times. When we do reach for an OTC treatment, we normally rely on the advice of a pharmacist to find a medication that is effective, fast, safe and offers value for money," said Carman Allison, Director, Marketing Communications at Nielsen Canada.
Read the full report.