KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

New Survey Shows Americans Spend $34 Billion On Alternative Treatments

"While Americans may complain about the high cost of health care, they're still willing to shell out roughly $34 billion a year out-of-pocket on alternative therapies that aren't covered by insurance, a new study shows," USA Today reports. Spending on the complementary and alternative therapies has increased by 25 percent in the last decade, according to the study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health (Szabo, 7/30).

"An estimated 38 percent of adults use some form of CAM to treat a variety of disease and conditions, the Washington Post reports. "Critics say that despite the increasing popularity of these treatments, very little good research has been done to validate their usefulness and the studies that have been done have largely found them to be ineffective. Some dietary supplement products have been found to be dangerous. The Food and Drug Administration, for example, issued a warning earlier this week not to use some dietary supplements sold as body-building products because they might cause liver and kidney problems" (Stein, 7/30).

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