Medicine-whether in the form of supplements or pharmaceuticals-is big business indeed. With profit margins which are nearly four times the common of some other business, the pharmaceutical industry enjoys a premier position being amongst probably the most profitable businesses in the world.

The nutraceutical industry isn’t far behind offering stiff competition to pharmaceutical counterparts. Research is booming and science-based studies vitamins for vegans have given successful impetus to the plant-based health supplement industry. A few of the more popular botanicals like as Echinacea, gingko biloba, ginseng, garlic, and St. John’s Wort are seeing sales that put them in the exact same league with many prescription drugs. In reality, so popular is medical supplement industry that pharmaceutical giants like Bayer, American Home Products, Johnson and Johnson and Boeheringer-Ingelheim have all begun to offer supplements!

What is the Difference?

There’s not much of a difference between nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals except for the manner in which they are regulated in the United States although both are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drugs Administration. Major differences include:

* Pharmaceuticals which are based on plant proteins for vaccines and medical treatments are not similar as nutraceuticals. The major difference is that pharmaceuticals are designed specifically for medical use under a physician’s supervision, and are subject to Food And Drugs Administration approval.
Health supplements do not require medical supervision, nor Food And Drugs Administration approval.
* Pharmaceuticals need prescription from a certified doctor for purchase. The decision of a supplements is up to the individual. Health supplements are sold without restrictions at health food stores, food markets, drug stores, national discount chains, mail-order and Internet.
* You can find no strict regulating laws governing health supplements. Almost anyone can come up with a product, notify the Food And Drugs Administration , and use it in the market. In stark contrast, it requires anywhere between 8-12 years for a brand new drug to be approved by the Food And Drugs Administration.Pharmaceuticals undergo intense regulatory reviews by the Food And Drugs Administration.
* Due to stricter regulations, pharmaceuticals have greater proof efficacy and safety. Whereas supplements are derived from tradition with insufficient proof safety and efficacy. However, this really is changing as new research builds up to support medical advantages of a few of the accepted nutrients. Eg omega 3 fatty acids.
* Pharmaceuticals are patented. Herbs and supplements are not patented and therefore the profits are limited with stiff competition from all kinds of health supplement manufacturers.
* Pharmaceuticals spend an incredible number of dollars for research and paperwork for a brand new therapeutic claim of an established drug all to satisfy Food And Drugs Administration requirements. Food And Drugs Administration requirements for supplements are never stringent apart from barring them from making any false health claims about their product and adding a disclaimer: “This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This device isn’t intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”
* Pharmaceuticals have various side effects. Known negative effects are needed to be disclosed on the label. While supplements don’t demand a listing of negative effects, there is commonly fewer cases of negative effects related to the usage of health supplements.

Complaining concerning the high cost of traditional medicine and negative effects, many folks are embracing alternative medicine in the form of health supplements. A written report by the Hartman Group, a respected market research firm called, “The Wellness Trends in 2002” found that Americans are beginning to put the household and a healthy body above the daily routines of life. Among those interviewed many expressed frustration with U.S. healthcare system and wanted more control over their own health. The report said, “Dietary supplements … (allow) them a means of self-managing their own health … providing them with an expression of empowerment,” the report states. This is an edge over pharmaceuticals.According to the Nutrition Business Journal fast growth in the nutraceutical market is seen in weight-loss products.

The demand for such products keeps growing as you see the significantly more than 120 million overweight Americans and 17 million diabetics who are seeking supplements that increase metabolism, suppress or satiate appetite, and control blood sugar. Such sectors in medical supplement industry have gained footage over pharmaceuticals.In America, 60% of the consumers take some kind of food supplement and 30 to 40% take herbal supplements. Health supplements are gaining such credibility that many physicians are recommending them with their patients before prescribing riskier pharmaceuticals. Of medical supplement users 95% are pleased with supplements.In the meanwhile, research is still booming in both industries! Health supplement manufacturers continue to unveil groundbreaking products as new evidence supporting medical advantages of nutraceuticals emerges.

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