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Australian Health Insights Report
Broadening healthcare into a future

Australian Health Campaign Initiatives and Economic Impact 

 

Australia is marketed as having one of the best world class healthcare systems.

 

The Commonwealth Fund Report  ranks Australia as first in providing the best health outcomes. The Australian health system coverage is with safe, affordable and high quality therapies for all Australians. The country leads in providing equity care with the least income-related disparities in performance amongst the 10 other high income countries. The areas needing improvement are in access to care and the care process. Advances from changes in these domains are important determinants of health, productivity and economical outcomes.  2

The opportunities for sustainability continue ongoing in both private and public sector stimulation. Revenue can improve with local investments in biotech and medical technology, telemedicine, private health insurance, medical tourism and innovated health programs. Profitable productivity is in the commercialising of medical research, outsourcing care to private sector operations and mixed payment for health services. 2 3

Man playing virtual reality with Microsoft HoloLens

Industry Outlook

Healthcare is the largest sector of the Australian economy with the population employed. Health services are the 9th most profitable industry in 2023.  The sector has grown since 1990, with 15% of all Australians in the healthcare and social assistance workforce (2022) increasing to an estimated future growth of 15% during the next 5 years. 4 5 6 7  

Hospitals, private nursing homes and medical clinics are making gross profits of at least 40% per annum. The aged service provider asset base grew by approximately 4% with number of employees increasing by 2.03% in 2021. Aged care providers reported a drop in median earnings with an (EBITDAR) profit margin from 3.2% (2020) to 2.1% (2021).  Occupancy rates in residential care homes have declined to 91% (2022). 8  9

In 2020-2021, spending on health accounted for 10% percent of the gross domestic products (23.8 billion dollars). 10  The 213 Australian companies listed on the stock exchange in September 2023, are making developments in technology, surgical devices, body composition analysing devices, medicinal cannabis, software, call systems, AI scanning, drug tests, medical imaging, digital GP clinics, clinical trial services, health insurance and pharmaceuticals (weight loss, antibodies, oncology medicines, vaccinations, protein consumables, antivirals and neurodevelopmental therapies). 11 12

Compared to Other Nations

Australia’s National healthcare quality has dropped from 6th (89 countries) in 2021 to 25th placement in mid 2023 (out of 94 countries).  The Australian Healthcare Index Report describes the reasons for the survey rating resulted from changes in bulk billing causing more out of pocket costs to see GP’s, less access to Emergency Departments with longer waiting times and lowered quality of care from healthcare worker shortages. 13 14 15

Australia performed well as reported in the Commonwealth Fund Report with communication (primary doctor and specialists), uses of video consultations and reduction in out-of-pocket costs for primary care (86%). Areas needing improvement can be identified when comparing Australia to other nations leading in access to care and the care processes. 2

Access to care has been improved in other nations by advertising standardised pathways to care (dental, elective and screening) and diseases (cancer, stroke, musculoskeletal, mental health and substance abuse). Reducing telehealth improved ambulatory care, while changing alcohol percentage for sale (i.e. 4.7% by volume), enforcing no alcohol advertising and no happy hour reduced alcohol dependency. Dental coverage was provided for the mentally ill and for people with long term conditions. Undocumented migrants children were given essential health cover. Citizens have had free choice of hospital with more comprehensive private health insurance system conditions (risk rated premiums not related to age and no refusal for insurance). 16 17

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Stock Market Quotes

Economic Investment into Health Promotion

Australia has the 12th largest economy. The economic growth of Australia is measured with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita and Gross National Income (GNI) per capita. Australia’s GDP has been positive during the last few years while the GNI has decreased. 18 19 20 21

A higher GDP can lead to improved health of the national population, while better health outcomes increase the GDP. Access to a higher quality standard of healthcare, education, food and housing contributes towards greater knowledge, demand and financial status to furthermore improve health care services. With a healthier nation, there can be an increase in the proportion of population, participation, productivity of working people and purchasing. 22

As the Australian Government contributes a majority of budget from the gross national income to fund development of services, most of the changes between 2022 – 2063 are anticipated to mostly resolve health budget pressures and function as a share of the GDP (amongst other budget pressures – aged care, NDIS, interest payments and defence). 23

The Australian Medical Association is working with the Australian Government to provide solutions to reduce costs of healthcare and “make Australia the healthiest country in the world”. Investing in health will save Australia wound care, through preventing avoidable hospitalisations, reducing “hospital exit block”, care processes for total knee replacements, chronic disease expenses related to sugar consumption and travel costs (by using telehealth). 24 25

Impact with Advertising Campaigns

The Australian Government health campaigns focus on national health plans and strategies for educating the public to change and live healthier lifestyles.  The national government are compelled to support the public with health promotion, disease prevention and managing health burdens. By doing so, it reduces the costs of health burden on the Federal Budget and corrects the influence of commercial marketing failures challenging health. 26

The Australian Government relies on the  Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Australian Energy Regulator.  They enforce the Australian Competition and the Australian Consumer Act for fair trading and regulation. 27

 

The economic impact of the Australian market from health advertising campaigns stimulates sales, recruitment of staff, employee retention, value to GDP and economic efficiency by supporting competition. 28

Advertising on healthcare brands in the last few years has averaged 180 million AU dollars spent with a changing trend of less campaigns and use of more broader strategies. 29 30

Health advertising spent (2019-2021) AU

Source: Statista (non-downloaded content) -  Healthcare Ads Spent on Television, Digital Static Displays, Radio, Outdoor, Magazine and Cinema, Australia (2019-2021).

Government Advertisement Campaigns
and Expenditure (2019 – 2022)

The World Health Organization protects the Australian healthcare landscape of health promotion using key principles and actions adapted from the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion - 1986 (reconfirmed in the Jakarta Declaration on Leading Health Promotion into the 21st Century in 1997). They are used to develop public policies, develop personal skills to improve the standard expectation in each Australian’s personal level of health, support an environment of optimal health performance for all, strengthen actions and reorientate health services towards a future of compliance. 31

To monitor national needs the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports statistical data on the determinants of health, the health system and health status with the current Australian Health Performance Framework.1 It reflects the impact of advertising and services on health consumer loyalty amongst the Australian population. 2 32

The Australian Government Campaigns are audited by the Australian National Audit office every 7 years, with the last audit being the ‘Government Advertising: June 2015 to April 2019’.  The audit checks: the objective is not political, campaign phases, certifications, presentation, referencing for campaign statements, publications, justification for print outs (imagery, branding and content) and cost impact of each stage. Impact analysis is through the monitoring of website analytics, social media metrics, hashtag usage, reach, attendance, distribution, media coverage). Risk is assessed by evaluating brand safety with YouTube, checklists to choose campaign talent public figures and incompliance with use of paid social media influencers. Analysis of each campaign performance incorporates website analytics, social media metrics, the use of the campaign hashtag, event reach and attendance, distribution numbers and media coverage to determine value for money. 33

The main campaign panel suppliers the Australia Government employed for health campaigns in 2019-2021 were Ogilvy Australia (advertising), Fiftyfive5 (research), Fenton (public relations), Cultural perspective (multi-cultural communications), Carbon Media (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communication). 34  35      

The Australian Government and their Agencies spent 77.3M (2019-2020), 95M (2020-2021) and  85M (2021-2022) on health campaigns.  36 37 38

Commercial Health Advertising 

Healthy influence from commercial advertising can improve workplace productivity, reduce the demand of law enforcement, improve health conditions, prevent illness and lower health related expenses. 39

Zenith Media reports healthcare brands in Australia spent $182.5 M in 2020 with a prediction last year for it to rise to with more focus in on digital advertising to 676 M in the year 2023. 40 41

Advertising campaigns for sugar drinks in Australia between (2016-2018) totalled to $129.5M, this was compared with artificially sweetened drinks ($23.26M), plain water ($14.27M) and plain milk ($31.30M). Alcohol advertising $107 million (2018 -2019). 42 43

Direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medicines to the general public is not allowed in Australia. In specific circumstances the Therapeutic Goods Administration has granted advertising information related to certain medicines to encourage therapy (example salbutamol). 44 45

Illegal Health Advertising 

Illicit Drugs

National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre analysed between 2020 and 2024 illegal online drug listings. It increased from 11,308 across four markets to 41,880 across five markets. Of these, cannabis was 29% of the markets, methylenedioxyphenethylamine (MDMA-ectascy) – 15%, cocaine – 9%, benzodiazepines – 8%, psychoactive substance (NPS) – 7%) and methyl/amphetamine – 6%. 49

A study in 2019 by a research organisations, Volteface, found 1 in 4 young people saw illicit drugs advertised online on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook. The drugs most advertised were cannabis (63%), cocaine (26%), ecstasy (24%), Xanax (20%), nitrous oxide (17%) and codeine (16%).50

Federal Court of Australia has acted with responses to unlawful advertising of illegal drugs, prescription-only substances, dangerous sports supplements, nicotine vaping products, hyperbaric oxygen devices  and alternative medicines. 51

Non-Medical Prescription Drugs

Illegal pharmacy websites operate internationally with an estimated 40,000 online selling opioids, cancer drugs, diabetes medications and weight loss drugs. 51 52 53

The TGA has limitations in enforcing direct to consumer advertising of prescription medicines through social media from other countries (United States and New Zealand). 54 55

All prescription drugs listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods cannot be advertised and supplied in Australia unless they are approved through the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods as a medicine. 

 

The Australian Government, Australian Institute of Criminology, in 2016, reported from a study the increased incidents in users of non-prescription drugs committing property offences (twice more likely than a non-user of those drugs). 56

 

The Therapeutic Drugs Administration has responded to drug misuse by reducing pack sizes and preventing advertising using disease-focused campaigns of opioids (codeine, oxycontin, fentanyl, methadone, oxycodone and tramadol). 57

Non-Medical Prescription Drugs

In 2019, an Australian study found six out of 10 “nicotine-free” liquids contained nicotine. The Queensland Poisons Information Centre reported 486% increase in calls since 2020 about children under five years of age being exposed to e-cigarette and vaping products. Addictions have increased in adolescents by one in four by smoking “nicotine-free” advertised vapes.  58 59 60

The TGA tested vaping products in Australia to check TGO 110 labelling compliance and found  a majority contained nicotine (411 of 506) and were without batch number or expiry date making them non-compliant with regulatory requirements (392 of 506). There was no testing of vaping products labelled “nicotine not present” for presence of nicotine. It is illegal to advertising non-prescription vaping products unless it is by a pharmacy or pharmacy group using certain media.   61

Vaping, selling non-prescription vapes, advertising and importing vaping products are now banned by the Australian Government. 62  63

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