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Immigrant Usage Patterns of Natural Health Products: Role in Pharmacoeconomics

[ Vol. 16 , Issue. 1 ]


Dalya Abdulla*   Pages 45 - 55 ( 11 )


Background: Understanding patterns and drivers for natural health product (NHP) usage among immigrants is essential in the provision of appropriate health care; many studies have elucidated NHP utilization among immigrants; however, few have considered impacts of concurrent NHP and prescription medication usage.

Objective: The study aims to determine new immigrant NHP usage patterns (including concurrent usage with prescription medications) and to discern economic impacts driving concurrent usage.

Methods: A survey questionnaire was administered to local new immigrants during English Language Training classes.

Results: Most participants understood the NHP definition and would take an NHP for the same disease or condition they would normally take a prescription medication for. Many participants agreed that NHPs are not safe however were unable to provide robust examples of unsafe NHP usage. With regard to purchases of medicines for short and long term illnesses, a high percentage of participants would purchase the prescription medication for a short term illness over the NHP; however this percentage decreases in the event of a long term illness, with more participants relying on NHPs to remedy their long term illness symptoms.

Conclusion: Pharmacoeconomics tends to be a major driver for immigrant utilization of NHPs, and is a stronger influencer of use compared to ethnicity or parenteral usage of such products. This pharmacoeconomic correlation in the preference to use NHPs over prescription medications tends to be more observable for chronic and long term conditions (compared to short term illnesses).


Acute illness, chronic illness, ethnicity, natural health products, pharmacoeconomics, prescription medications.


Pharmacy Technician Program, Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, 7899 McLaughlin Road, Brampton, ON, L6Y 5H9

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