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European Consumers Share a High Interest in Healthcare, but Hold Varied Views on Many Health Issues


New TNS Healthcare Study Reveals Both Differences and Similarities in Health Views

New TNS Healthcare Study Reveals Both Differences and Similarities in Health Views across Europe

NEW YORK - More than 90% of consumers across the five major European markets-the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain—share an interest in health, according to a new study by TNS Healthcare, a Kantar Health Company. European woman are significantly more concerned with health than men, with 95% of females expressing interest in health issues vs. 89% of males. Age also makes a difference, with 55% of those older than 55 expressing an interest in health vs. just 44% of those between 18 and 24.

“The study indicates that, in all countries, most people take health for granted while they are young, particularly if they have no health issues,” says Louise Tamblin, Practice Area Lead in Brand and Communications Research at TNS Healthcare UK. “Those who do suffer from any medical condition-even if it’s minor-become significantly more interested in health than those who do not.”

Europeans Have Many Areas of Commonality

Europeans share the same views on many health issues. For example, the majority of consumers in all countries agree that they only go to the doctor when necessary. They also believe that they know when to visit a doctor vs. when to self medicate.

“Interestingly, doctors think differently about how well consumers judge whether to visit a physician or treat themselves,” says Ginny Rose, Practice Area Lead in Patient Understanding, OTC and Consumer Health Research, TNS Healthcare UK. “For example, while 81% of consumers in the UK agree with the statement that they know when to go to the doctor and when to self medicate, more than 50% of doctors disagree.”

Both consumers and doctors across the five countries surveyed share positive perceptions of pharmacists. There also was agreement on perceptions of OTC products, with UK respondents particularly positive about non-Rx treatments. For example, 77% of UK consumers and 85% of UK doctors believe that, for some health problems, the medicines consumers can buy are just as effective as those they would get from a doctor. In addition, 83% of UK consumers and 85% of UK doctors agree that it is important to be able to buy medicines without a prescription for minor ailments.

Findings Show Disagreement across Many Aspects of the Physician Relationship

The TNS Healthcare survey reveals large differences among countries and between consumers and physicians in the same country on many aspect of the physician relationship. While 64% of consumers in the UK say that they would rather buy a medicine than visit a doctor, only 18% of that country’s physicians agree. Spain comes out at the opposite end of the spectrum, with just 33% of consumers saying they would prefer to buy a medicine than visit a doctor-and only 10% of physicians agreeing.

There also was broad disagreement on whether it is risky for people to treat minor ailments without seeing a doctor first. The percentage of consumers believing that it is very risky for people to self treat minor conditions ranged from 10% in the UK to 43% in Spain. On the physician side, respondents agreeing it is very risky ranged from just 4% in the UK to 49% in Italy.

When asked whether they agree or disagree with the statement that doctors are too willing to prescribe treatments for minor ailments, doctors in most countries are harder on themselves than consumers are. For example, in the UK, 43% of doctors but only 26% of patients agree that doctors too often prescribe treatments for minor conditions. France and Spain show a similar pattern, with 40% of physicians but only about a quarter of consumers agreeing.

500 Physicians and 2500 Consumers Provide Insight

TNS Healthcare’s results are based on an on-line survey of 500 primary care physicians (100 per country) and 2,500 consumers 18 and older (500 per country) in the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy. The study was conducted in April 2009.

About TNS Healthcare, a Kantar Health Company

TNS Healthcare, a Kantar Health company, provides market research consulting to the worldwide ethical and OTC pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device industries, as well as health-focused ad agencies, media and analysts. It offers globally consistent solutions and custom advisory services to support product introductions; brand, treatment and sales performance optimization; and physician and DTC promotional assessment.

Informing decisions across the life cycle, TNS Healthcare offers action-ready insights for pre-launch landscaping, market and opportunity assessment, segmentation, positioning, message and campaign creation, pricing, forecasting, attitude and awareness measurement and post-launch tracking. It delivers information across stakeholders—including physicians, patients and consumers—to help companies anticipate and impact customers’ behaviors. TNS Healthcare provides both qualitative and quantitative offerings, using traditional and online methodologies, combining worldwide reach with local expertise.

For more information, visit or contact Ilene Siegalovsky, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications at


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