Europe Over the Counter Drugs Market Research Report - Segmented By Product Type, Formulation Type, Distribution Channels & Country (UK, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Netherlands, Turkey, Czech Republic and Rest of Europe) - Industry Analysis on Size, Share, Trends, COVID-19 Impact & Growth Forecast (2024 to 2029)

Updated On: January, 2024
ID: 463
Pages: 145

Europe Over-the-Counter Drugs Market Size (2024 to 2029)

The European Over-the-counter drugs market was estimated at USD 60.24 Billion in 2023 and is projected to reach USD 96.02 Billion by 2029 from USD 65.11 billion in 2024, growing at a CAGR of 8.08% between 2024 to 2029.

The increasing consumer awareness regarding minor health issues is enhancing the over-the-counter drugs market growth in Europe.

People are becoming health conscious, and they are accessible to information regarding minor health issues, which is making them avoid doctor consultations and practice self-medication. The accessibility for OTC drugs is at ease without a doctor's direct contact. Pain relievers, cough and cold supplements, vitamins, and immunity boosters are widely sold as OTC drugs. OTC drugs provide convenience and accessibility to consumers for common health issues, accelerating Europe's over-the-counter drugs market growth. Sustainable pains, colds, and coughs are common ailments observed in the daily life of people; these cases cannot be in consultation with a doctor, where people can manage themselves. Vitamins and immunity boosters are the dietary supplements many consume, which are available as OTC medications. An article in 2021, "Dietary Supplements and Nutraceuticals Market Growth during the Pandemic – Implications for Consumers and Regulatory Oversight," indicated that sales of vitamins in the UK increased by 63% compared to the previous year. 

The growing aging population in Europe is significantly contributing to the growth of the European over-the-counter drugs market.

Senior people are highly prone to chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases, where the common symptoms and side effects include pains, body aches, and others that OTC medications can treat. According to a Eurostat article on population aging and structure in 2022, 20.8% of people in the European Union were aged 65 years and above within a year. Certain common conditions such as athlete's foot, tooth decay and toothache, several allergies, migraine, and antiseptics for wound dressing are majorly acting by increasing the demand for OTC medications, increasing the market growth. The availability of OTC drugs for fatigue and anxiety was fuelling the market expansion. 

The widespread availability of OTC medications with efficient cost benefits for healthcare providers is expected to create lucrative opportunities for the market in the forecast period. Online retailing of medications is a huge opportunity to expand the European over-the-counter drugs market. The availability of medicines online with direct delivery is capturing people's attention, and self-medication practices among people were estimated to seek opportunities over the forecast period. 

The increasing use of over-the-counter drugs by people repeatedly without doctor consultation may lead to critical conditions, which in turn put pharmacies and drug stores in a challenging situation; these kinds of situations hamper the European over-the-counter drugs market. The increasing cases of wrong medications among people leading to life-threatening situations were expected to hinder the OTC drugs market in the forecast period. 

OTC drugs must meet regulatory standards for efficacy and safety, challenging manufacturers. Another challenge is competition from generic drugs. Many generic drugs replace branded drugs with the same effect but at a lower price. People are preferring generic over branded due to low cost and fewer adverse effects.

Impact Of COVID-19 On Europe Over the Counter Drugs Market

The pandemic has positively impacted the European over-the-counter drugs market, as OTC drugs are in high demand due to the closure of hospitals and clinics. The restricted visits to health professionals and physicians for medical assistance have moved people towards OTC drugs, such as painkillers, as a temporary solution. COVID-19 influenced people to maintain good health, and many people started consuming dietary supplements and vitamins, which increased the European market share during the pandemic. The increased online pharmacy services by the giant market players drove the market growth. 

This research report on the European over-the-counter drugs market has been segmented and sub-segmented into the following categories.

Europe Over-The-Counter Drugs Market - By Product Type 

  • Analgesics
  • Cough, Cold, and Flu Products
  • Vitamins and Minerals
  • Dermatological Products
  • Gastrointestinal Products
  • Ophthalmic Products
  • Sleep Aid Products
  • Weight Loss/Diet Products
  • Others

Based on product type, the cough, cold, and flu segment had a significant share of the over-the-counter drugs market in Europe in 2023, and the domination of the segment is expected to continue throughout the forecast period. The availability of various drugs, increasing incidence of cough and cold among people, growing aging population in Europe, and increasing pollution levels are propelling the growth of the segment.

Europe Over-the-Counter Drugs Market - By Formulation Type

  • Tablets
  • Liquids
  • Ointments
  • Spray

Based on the formulation type, the tablets segment led the market in 2023. Europe is one of the regions that had a significant impact by COVID-19. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the consumption of drugs in tablet form has increased significantly.

Europe Over-the-Counter Drugs Market - By Distribution Channels 

  • Pharmacies
  • Supermarkets/Hypermarkets
  • Convenience Store
  • Others (Online Drug Stores)

Europe Over-the-Counter Drugs Market - By Country 

  • UK
  • France
  • Spain
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Russia
  • Sweden
  • Denmark
  • Switzerland
  • Netherlands
  • Turkey
  • Czech Republic
  • Rest of Europe

European region held the second position in dominating the global market with a significant share.

The UK held the leading share of the European over-the-counter drugs market in 2023.

The UK is predicted to continue accounting for the major share of the European over-the-counter drugs market during the forecast period due to advancements in healthcare and increasing investments in the healthcare sector. According to an article in 2021, titled "Access to Medicines via Non-Pharmacy Outlets in European Countries- A Review of Regulations and Their Influence on the Self-Medication Phenomenon," published in the Journal of Healthcare stated that consumers in the UK are allowed to buy the medicines from retail outlets such as supermarkets, petrol stations, and corner shops, the ease of availability of OTC drugs is expected to drive the market in the country. Approving new non-prescribed drugs in the region is enhancing the European market share. All the over-the-counter drugs in the UK are approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency based on their safety profiles; there is no need for permission from a general physician for the consumption of these drugs.

Germany is another major segment in the European OTC drugs market.

German over-the-counter drugs market was expected to witness promising market share over the forecast period due to its high adoption of OTC drugs from prescribed drugs. The increasing number of geriatric patients with cold and cough issues increases the demand for OTC drugs. Increasing government support to the over-the-counter drugs market by funding and approvals is fueling market size growth. In addition, emerging countries such as Italy and Spain are projected to have a decent growth rate in the upcoming years due to growing healthcare across the European region. According to the British Medical Association, in 2022, non-prescription or over-the-counter drugs can be given to a child without authorization from the school or nursery.


A few of the key players in the European Over-the-counter drugs Market profiled in this report are GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson and Johnson, Novartis, Bayer, Pfizer, Sanofi, and Takeda. They are the top companies contributing to the European over-the-counter drugs market. However, the loss of patent protection leads companies to switch to OTC.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Which countries contribute significantly to the over the counter drugs market in Europe?

Key contributors to the market include Germany, France, the UK, and Italy, with each playing a crucial role in shaping regional trends.


What factors are driving the growth of the over the counter drugs market in Europe?

Factors such as easy accessibility, cost-effectiveness, and a shift towards preventive healthcare are driving the European over the counter drugs market growth.

What are the factors challenging the growth of the over the counter drugs market in Europe?

Factors such as stringent regulatory processes, competition from prescription drugs, and the need for effective marketing to differentiate products are primarily challenging the growth of the European over the counter drugs market. 


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