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Over The Counter (OTC) Drugs Market

A brief overview of Over the Counter Drug statistics

Over the Counter Drugs (OTC) – A Synopsis

Over the counter drugs, also known as OTC drugs are medications that are available or can be purchased without a prescription at drugstores or supermarkets. The OTC drugs are typically safe if used at recommended doses. However, abusing OTC drugs can lead to health problems such as memory loss, kidney failure, heart problems and even death.  These OTC drugs have various medical uses and effects in the treatment of mild pain and motion sickness. As per the over the counter drugs statistics, older adults comprising of 14.5% of the population in the United States account for 30% of all over-the-counter (OTC) drug use.

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Global Over-the-Counter Drug MarketWhat is in store for the global market?

The global over-the-counter drugs market as per the Over-the-Counter Drugs Market Research Reports is estimated to be valued at US $131.70 billion in 2016 which is projected to reach the US $188.19 billion by the end of 2021. The analysts forecast global over the counter (OTC) drugs market to grow at a CAGR of 7.4% during the period from 2016 to 2020. The Over-the-counter drugs market consists of drugs used to treat disorders that include gastrointestinal disorder, pain, dermatological and respiratory disorders.

The US FDA considers OTC drugs safe for use without medical supervision or doctor’s advice. These drugs are usually sold through hospitals, grocery stores, online retails stores, pharmaceutical stores, hospitals, and through catalogs. The pharmerging 21 countries (Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Russia, Mexico, Colombia, Egypt, Pakistan, Poland, Indonesia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey Ukraine, Venezuela, Vietnam and Romania) are in the forefront of the growth in the global OTC market fuelled by higher out of pocket expenditure, favorable demographic trends and growing prosperous middle class population.

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These Pharmerging countries contribute to 32% of the global sales of the top ten OTC multinationals. The over-the-counter drug market size is expected to grow due to the growing healthcare costs and an increase in the older population demands for the need of better accessibility and affordability of healthcare services. In addition, an increase in the self-care and self-medication is influenced by factors such as lifestyle, socioeconomic factors and easy accessibility of OTC drugs.  The OTC drug dermatological products for cough, cold and flu along with vitamins, minerals, supplements, analgesics and gastrointestinal that occupies more than 50% of the market share of the overall global OTC market. In 2016, the overall OTC retail sales were worth US $33 billion. In the United States, the total sales for Retail Rx Drugs in 2015 were worth the US $286,797,651,601 that was sold at retail pharmacies.

OTC Marketing Strategies –The Strategies OTC Drug Marketers

With the change in the technologies and consumer behaviors, the OTC drug marketing is engaging consumers through print by pairing traditional marketing tactics with unique and creative ideas. Even though, majority of OTC drug marketers still expend most of their budget in mass media channels such as Television and Print, direct marketing particularly through online has become one of the most powerful OTC marketing strategies. The OTC drug marketers are shifting from mass media advertising to using the internet as online marketing is allowing companies to grow databases and in tracking their data.

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Direct marketing in the form of direct mail, an e-mail or a website is helping OTC drug marketers to establish and progress the relationship between the OTC brand and the customer. Integrated campaigns that combine both online and offline marketing tactics are helping in the establishment of conversation between an OTC drug company and its customers.

Market Segmentation of OTC Drug Market – Tabulated View

Over-the-Counter Drugs Market Research Reports segment the OTC Drug market based on product type and geography, which is explained in a tabulated format for the readers for an easy reference.

Types Geography
Analgesic North America
Cough, Cold and Flu Products Europe
Dermatological Products Asia-Pacific
Gastrointestinal Products Latin America
Vitamins and Minerals Middle East
Weight Loss Products  
Sleep Aids, Ophthalmic Products  
Smoking Cession Aid  
Other Products  

Figure 1 – Market Segmentation of Global OTC Drug Market

Europe and North America are major shareholders of the global OTC drug market size with positive OTC market trends emerging from Asia-Pacific Regions such as from countries like China and India. The key players or companies in the global OTC drug market include top Multinational Corporate such as-

  • GlaxoSmithKline,
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Novartis
  • Bayer
  • Pfizer
  • PGT Healthcare

These companies are also benefiting from the extension of OTC services as one of the new OTC market trends for the drugs dealing with chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension.

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