27 July 2020 - Deborah Wilkes
Consumers’ trust in the self-care industry is high but there is still work to do with professional stakeholders, according to an international study carried out on behalf of the Global Self-Care Federation (GSCF).
The study found that three-quarters of consumers, 74%, trust the self-care industry. Only 9% distrust the industry, while the rest are neutral or don’t know.
By contrast, only 43% of professional stakeholders trust the self-care industry while 21% distrust the industry. The rest are mostly neutral.
For the study, Echo Research carried out research between January 2020 and April 2020, as well as using social listening for digital content published between May 2019 and November 2019 to benchmark media sentiment.
Echo conducted 102 telephone interviews with professional stakeholders – including Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), policymakers and patient advocacy groups – from global and pan-regional organisations.
In addition, 7,088 online consumer interviews were conducted in eight countries – Brazil, China, France, India, Nigeria, the Philippines, the UK and the US.
Differs by geographic region
The GSCF pointed out that trust in the self-care industry differed by geographic region as well as the audience polled.
The industry association said Europe was the most trusted region for professional stakeholders, followed by North America and Oceania. The least trusted region was Africa and the Middle East.
Regulation was the main differentiator driving the varying degrees of trust across regions, said the GSCF.
Judy Stenmark, director general of the GSCF, commented that “improving policy and regulation is crucial to strengthening the perception of the industry and will allow for the correct structures to be put in place to enable people to make the right decisions”.
Stenmark said the GSCF had released a Code of Ethics to “establish best practice across the industry”.
Action plan developed
The Code of Ethics is part of an action plan that the GSCF has developed to improve trust in the self-care industry.
The GSCF wants to improve stakeholder engagement. It aims to develop existing relations – such as the long-standing relations with the World Health Organization (WHO) – and build new ones.
Consumer education is also an important part of the action plan. The GSCF intends to develop and promote a hub for consumer education resources from its members and other recognised bodies.
The GSCF also highlights the importance of scientific evidence for self-care. It aims to publish and communicate “robust scientific evidence” including on the public health and economic value of self-care.
The final part of the action plan is a strategy for Africa.
Results of the study were released to coincide with International Self-Care Day on 24 July 2020.