CAM EducationHerbalsHomeopathyVitamins

Profiling consumers of natural health products

A series of focus group discussions across Canada help define today’s consumers of herbals, vitamins, and homeopathic medicines.

Here’s a summary of consumer views of natural health products (NHP) and the role of the pharmacist. I think there are insights for other healthcare professionals too.


  • generally don’t rely on pharmacists for information about NHPs.
  • often see themselves as capable of using a wide range of information sources and making their own decisions regarding NHPs.
  • believe they’re well informed prior to coming to the pharmacy.
  • some never think of asking pharmacists about NHPs.
  • are skeptical about relying on expert advice.
  • believe pharmacists should be knowledgeable about NHPs and act as consultants to help consumers but not make the final decision for them.

The bottom line?
Consumers agree that if NHPs are sold in the pharmacy, pharmacists should be responsible for, and knowledgeable about, them.

8/3/08 21:36 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.