As many of you know, I run a marketing business – this means I get regular alerts on new market research and intelligence. It’s not often, though, that my business life and my skeptical interests overlap.
Today, a great new study popped into my inbox. Global TGI (Target Group Index, a massive market research company) have just completed a major study on the usage and attitudes towards homeopathy worldwide. As well as telling us attitudes and usage worldwide, it also reveals that people who use homeopathy are…well, sicker than the rest of us.
Sadly, India fares the worst, with a massive 94% of people saying they have faith in alternative medicine, and one in ten having consulted a homeopath last year. To find out how the USA and Britain fared, read on.
Brits are the most skeptical of homeopathy, with 15% saying they trust homeopathy. 1 in 10 Brits prefer alternative medicine, although sadly the market is growing year on year.
As for the USA, the research says “Over the last five years there has been a slow, but steady increase in the proportion of people in the USA who say they prefer alternative medicine to standard medicine.”, and now 18% of people in the USA trust homeopathic medicine.
Here is the breakdown of trust in homeopathy by country:
An interesting part of the study was this:
“In the USA , homeopathy supporters are 57 percent more likely than average to suffer from eczema or psoriasis, 29 percent more likely to have asthma, and 22 percent more likely to suffer from allergies or hay fever.”
I expect that these people use homeopathy precisely because they have these conditions, and not that they have these conditions because they use homeopathy (that would be a remarkable twist). These are all chronic conditions, and so it’s understandable that sufferers become frustrated with the lack of definitive cure and turn to homeopathy, perhaps to complement their ‘allopathic’ medicine (one hopes that the number of people who ONLY use alternative medicines is low, although the cynic in me wants to say that if they do, it’s their funeral). And although it’s tempting to yell “people who use homeopathy are sicker than the rest of us!” (like I did in the opening paragraph to grab your attention), I must point out that it’s unlikely that people who don’t consider themselves ill would use any sort of medicine, let alone alternative. So this is result is somewhat to be expected.
I’m a little frustrated because I have loads more data from the study but am very short of time. I haven’t been able to give this entry the time it deserves, but I will endeavour to post a follow-up or two. In the meantime, in the interests of healthy patriotism…go Britain!