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Cross-country experiences and lessons in nutraceutical health marketing in the United States, China, and India


Aug 01, 2021

The distinction between food and drugs has blurred in recent years with a new and novel health paradigm representing a hybrid of nutrition and pharmaceuticals. Nutraceuticals are formulated or processed to satisfy dietary requirements arising from physical or physiological conditions, and to treat certain diseases. This study examines the complex interface between the regulatory framework and nutraceutical marketing by drawing from the experiences of three leading global producers and markets: the United States, China, and India. It identifies opportunities in leveraging positive drivers of health marketing and the risks and challenges to market players, particularly in relation to product safety and effectiveness. Findings indicate that: 1) marketing incentives can stem from the regulatory framework; 2) regulation can yield adverse, albeit unintended, consequences on marketing activity; 3) containment or punishment of undesirable market behavior does not necessarily support the legitimate and desirable ends of health marketing; 4) uncommunicated differences between prescription nutraceutical products and nutraceutical supplements breed public confusion and misinformation, and encourage self-medication; and 5) health marketing may be effectively channeled to act as an agent of compliance and positive change. Practical implications and recommendations drawn from the comparative experiences of the three surveyed countries are addressed by way of conclusion.

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