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Over the Counter Drugs – Boon or Burden?

The term “over the counter” might sound rather counterintuitive, since in many countries these drugs are sold by placing on shelves as any other packaged goods but these are the medicines sold directly to a consumer without a prescription. It is estimated that approximately four out of five American adults take these medications for common ailments such as aches, coughs and colds, pains, fever, skin disorders, allergies and other digestive problems. According to food and Drug Administration there are about 300,000 products in the market, a figure that is continuously growing as a number of prescription drugs are being shifted to this category. According to a recent survey for a range of illness, 8 in 10 consumers use OTC medicines to relieve their symptoms without having to see a healthcare professional. 92 percent of the physicians believe that OTC medicines are effective whereas 91 percent believe that these medicines are safe.

otc drugs-survey
share-of-savings-by-category-in-over-the-counter-drugs-marketOver the counter drugs save the costs associated with the doctor visits, alternative therapies, diagnostic tests and home remedy. Each dollar spent on the OTC drugs saves around $6-7 dollars spent on the system, which can be reason behind the $100 billion dollars that US citizens spend annually. while. Around 240 million Americans use OTC medicines if not for OTC approximately 56,000 medical practitioners would require to work full time to accommodate the increase in office visits for self treatable conditions. Three categories Cough/Cold/Flu, Upper GI and Allergy account for 59% of the total savings of the OTC drugs.


However, OTC drugs have their own limitations and disadvantages. These are the most commonly abused drugs after marijuana and alcohol in United States. One of the growing trends in teens nowadays is the abuse of OTC drugs as they are readily accessible than illegal drugs and are considered safer. They are becoming increasing part of the teenage culture. Most teens that abuse OTC drugs are not really aware that they are doing something really dangerous. It is estimated that 1 in eight teenagers, nearly 12%, admit to abusing cough syrup. According to a recent study 40 percent of the teens feel that OTC is much safer than illegal drugs. 55 percent of teens do not feel that it is risky to use cough syrup to get high. OTC medications containing DXM are the most commonly abused type of OTC drugs. DXM belongs to the same family of drug as Ketamine and PCP and is found in over one hundred OTC medications. FDA doesn’t involve in the regulation of diet pills. So, diet pill companies can make outrageous claims about the effectiveness of their products.


GlaxoSmithKline consumer healthcare Inc. received approval for its allergy relief product Flonase, as an Over-the-counter medicine for relief of symptoms associated with cyclic allergic rhinitis including hay fever, perennial rhinitis as well as the management of sinus pain and pressure symptoms associated with it. Flonase® Allergy Relief is the first over-the-counter spray for relief of nasal and eye-related allergy symptoms including sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, itchy throat and nose, itchy and watery eyes.

Sun Pharma, an Indian multinational company rolled out its first OTC drug, antacid Pepmelt. Pepmelt is an instant mouth dissolving granules, give quick, effective and soothing relief from heart burn and acidity. Pepmelt contains ayurvedic ingredient pure Khatika Churna that is to give relief from acidity and heartburn naturally.

Interested in knowing more about the OTC drugs market. Look no further. Our analysts have researched the heights and depths of this field and compiled an extensive report outlining the overall market along with in-depth analysis of market players. For getting latest updates in healthcare and revealing market insights make sure that you follow our blog and subscribe to our newsletters.

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