This is just one of a number of positive statistics from a industry survey published today by Complementary Medicines Australia (CMA), which also shows that overall revenue has doubled over the last five years in the segment.
“The 2014 Complementary Medicines Industry Survey provides a health-check on the growth of the complementary medicines industry, and sets out the challenges of operating a business in Australia, examining the issues that constrain further growth,” said Carl Gibson, chief executive of the association.
“The survey results indicate that the complementary medicines industry in Australia is healthy and growing in spite of the strong currency, excessive regulatory burden and lingering effects of the global financial crisis.
“In fact, additional research shows that industry revenue, which now stands at A$3.5bn [US$3.26bn], is expected to grow to A$4.6bn [US$4.29] in 2017-2018, and the industry expects an increase of 45,000 employees over the same period.”
Signalling this optimism, the report found that 83% of complementary medicine companies were expecting to grow their business over the next three years, with 58% of these looking at boosting their staffing over the period.
As it stands, 62% of companies are currently engaged in the export business, with Asia-Pacific accounting for eight out of 10 complementary healthcare shipments.
However, CMA highlighted that growth would increase even faster if it were not for “excessive regulatory burden” and “high operation costs / primary services” hampering the export potential of manufacturers.
In total, 156 companies participated in the survey, which took place between November 2013 and June 2014, with representation from a number of industry sectors, including importers, exporters, manufacturers, raw material suppliers, wholesalers, sponsors, distributors, health-food retailers and consultants.
“The majority of companies (82%) said excessive regulatory burden by the Therapeutic Goods Administration was a major issue affecting their business, with 43% saying high operating costs and 40% discounting through supermarket and pharmacy chains were major challenges,” said Gibson.
“It is great to see a positive outlook for the complementary medicines industry in spite of the challenges facing individual businesses and the industry as a whole. The complementary medicines industry clearly provides a significant and growing contribution to the Australian economy.”