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Global Over the Counter Drugs Market Size, Share, Trends & Growth Analysis Report – Segmented 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 and Others) & Region - Industry Forecast (2024 to 2029)

Published: March, 2023
ID: 461
Pages: 175
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Global Over the Counter Drugs Market Size (2024 to 2029)

The global over the counter (OTC) drugs market is predicted to value USD 338.16 billion by 2029 from USD 224.3 billion in 2024, growing at a CAGR of 8.55% between 2024 to 2029.

OTC drugs are effective and safe drugs that can be bought at pharmacies and local stores, over the counter, without a doctor's prescription. These drugs are seldom used for common ailments. Instead, the pharmacists dispense them after verifying the customer's age and identification. Acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen are the most common OTC drugs. The global over the counter drugs Market is booming with the allowance of previously high-priced prescribed drugs, shifting to the OTC category.

Global Over the Counter Drugs Market Drivers:

The increasing adoption rate of over the counter (OTC) drugs in developing regions leads to high market penetration. Therefore, it is boosting the growth of the global over the counter (OTC) drugs market. Affordability is another major factor fuelling the growth of the over the counter drugs market in developing nations. In addition, the influx of innovative drugs into the market owing to technological advancements is fuelling the growth rate of the over the counter drugs market. Also, increasing awareness among people in China, Brazil, India, and other developing countries regarding applications of OTC drugs further boosts the growth of the over the counter drugs market.

The growing adoption of over the counter drugs in developing countries due to availability and affordability offers lucrative opportunities for the key players in the market. Many pharmaceutical companies, drug stores, supermarkets, retail outlets, hospital pharmacies, and online pharmacies in developed and developing countries offer many opportunities to grow the global over the counter (OTC) drugs market. Furthermore, increasing healthcare expenditure and boosting economies of countries like China, India, Brazil, the Middle East, and other developing countries due to continually growing populations and rising disposable income in these countries are expected to create profitable possibilities for the market players worldwide during the forecast period.

The rising focus of public and private organizations on research and development activities from the private and public organizations for developing drug delivery systems, effective drugs that can be accessible at the nearest drug stores, medical shops, and online shopping is likely to expand growth potential for the over the counter drugs market during the forecast period. The public started showing a proactive approach toward the ailments. Along with that, they are also resorting to lower-priced alternatives due to rising costs in healthcare. The cultural shift in the public toward self-reliance leads to significant acquisitions. These are some drivers that shoot up over the counter drug market growth.

Global Over the Counter Drugs Market Restraints:

Drug abuse and the possibility of drug addiction are the major challenges and is pulling down the growth of the over the counter drugs market. Wrong medication due to incorrect self-diagnosis and misdiagnosis may lead to severe complications and is another limiting factor for developing the global over the counter (OTC) drugs market. Using traditional home remedies limits the market's growth worldwide due to the emergence of blogs and websites that share knowledge about the benefits associated with natural and cost-cutting remedies. Lack of awareness regarding the active drugs in underdeveloped and rural regions also restrains the market's growth. 

Impact of COVID-19 on the Over the Counter Drugs Market:

The coronavirus disease has spread to almost every country in the world. It is a deadly disease that has affected many in an unprecedented way. World Health Organization (WHO) declared emergency healthcare and released many guidelines to control its spread. In many countries, governments imposed a lockdown in the first half of 2020. In this period, the demand for over the counter drugs in the market has surged tremendously. The spread of coronavirus has caused a lot of confusion for people in the treatment process. The novel coronavirus disease will adversely affect patients with chronic diseases and older people. Therefore, most people are getting treatment at home. Medical experts say it is good news that many people are treated at home for the common cold. Also, in the COVID-19 outbreak, six OTC drugs got approval from the Food and Drug Administration to treat these diseases associated with mild symptoms. As there is no specific vaccination for COVID-19, all the people take the medications that work for cold or flu, and fever from the pharmacies. Hence, COVID-19 is a boom for the over the counter drugs market.




Market Size Available

2023 to 2029

Base Year


Forecast Period

2024 to 2029

Segments Covered

By Product Type, Formulation Type, Distribution Channels, and Region

Various Analyses Covered

Global, Regional & Country Level Analysis, Segment-Level Analysis; DROC, PESTLE Analysis; Porter's Five Forces Analysis, Competitive Landscape, Analyst Overview of Investment Opportunities

Regions Covered

North America, Europe, APAC, Latin America, Middle East & Africa

Market Leaders Profiled

Johnson and Johnson, Novartis, Bayer, Pfizer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Sanofi, Takeda, and PGT Healthcare


This research report on the global over the counter (OTC) drugs market has been segmented and sub-segmented based on the product type, formulation type, distribution channels, and region.

Global Over the counter (OTC) 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

More than half of the market share belongs to categories like Analgesics, Cough, Cold & Flu, Dermatological and gastrointestinal categories based on the product type.

The vitamins and minerals supplements segment accounted for the second largest share of the global over the counter drugs market and covered a 28.5% share in 2023. It is due to purchasers knowing more about the advantages of taking vitamin supplements. Moreover, a rise in the unhealthy population is more common among developed countries across the globe.

The analgesics & pain relief segments are another lucrative segment in the global over the counter (OTC) drugs market and are presumed to continue the projection period.

The weight loss/diet products segment is forecasted to exhibit the highest CAGR growth rate during the assessment period. In addition, weight loss products and smoking cessation aids are other significant segments anticipated to be generated during the estimated period due to increasing awareness among healthy people.

Global Over the counter (OTC) Drugs Market – By Formulation Type:

  • Tablets    
  • Liquids    
  • Ointments        
  • Sprays 

Based on the formulation type, the tablets segment dominates the market owing to increasing cases of COVID-19 and the growing need for dietary supplements. Additionally, tablets are easily administered via the mouth and are easy to remember and consume promptly. Tablets are also the most preferred form of medication as they do not cause too much bitterness to the patient. 

Liquids and Ointments are following the Tablets segment, leading with the market's dominant share. Rising orthopedic problems among older people fuel the market's growth rate. Additionally, liquids often have a faster reaction rate than tablets and help relieve symptoms more quickly, and ointments help heal external damages, raising market revenue. 

Global Over the counter (OTC) Drugs Market – By Distribution Channels:

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

Based on the distribution channels, the pharmacy segment is estimated to have notable growth globally during the analysis period. Many pharmaceutical companies have adopted OTC drugs and sent them to pharmacies. The general population uses these drugs over prescription drugs, providing an excellent market growth opportunity. Major pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens always lead the charts for the drug market.

However, convenience stores and online drug stores and grown in revenue in recent times due to the growing advancement in technology and the rapid digitalization of the world systems. In addition, the growing number of digital pharmacies and healthcare applications relating to pharmacies like pocket pharmacists and mindscapes are leading the revenue to this segment. 

Global Over the counter (OTC) Drugs Market – By Region:

  • North America
  • Europe
  • Asia-Pacific
  • Latin America
  • The Middle East and Africa

North America and Europe are the top contributors to the global over the counter (OTC) drugs market, followed by Asia-Pacific. During the forecast period, the Over the Counter Drugs Market in North America is anticipated to grow at a promising CAGR and be worth USD 86.9 billion by 2027. The growing adoption of OTC drugs in North American countries is one of the major factors propelling the market growth in North America. In 2021, the U.S. Over the Counter Drugs Market accounted for the maximum share of the North American market. However, North America is forecasted to witness a decline in the market due to the domination of generic medicine prescriptions.

The European Over the Counter Drugs Market had a substantial share of the global market in 2022. Europe is said to attain a commendable profit due to the public's high adoption rates. Germany over the counter (OTC) drugs market had the most significant share of the European market in 2021, followed by the UK, France, Italy, and Spain. The Over the counter (OTC) drugs market in France is expected to project a 3.5% CAGR from 2022 to 2027.

On the other hand, the Asia-Pacific Over the Counter Drugs Market is expected to showcase the fastest CAGR among all the regions in the global market. Asia-Pacific regions such as China, Japan, and India are the fastest-growing markets, as the growth rate is increasing exponentially. In addition, some nations have yet to standardize the review of the non-prescription attainment status. Therefore, countries with lower economies have more revenue for the Over the Counter Drugs Market. Moreover, countries like India, Japan, China, and others are more at ease providing simple medications without prescriptions, further promoting the region's dominance. In Asia, the Indian Over the Counter Drugs Market is growing the fastest owing to the greater adoption of OTC drugs. The Chinese Over the counter (OTC) drugs market is estimated to register a CAGR of 6.32% from 2022 to 2027. The market in China is anticipated to be driven by the increasing demand for OTC drugs, the growing population, and increasing healthcare expenditure. South Korea over the counter (OTC) drugs market is one of the promising regions in the Asia-Pacific and is anticipated to be worth USD 7.1 billion by 2027. The Over the Counter Drugs Market in Singapore is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.45% during the forecast period. YOY's growth in the Singapore pharmaceuticals industry and growing preference for OTC drugs to treat cold and cough are boosting the market in Singapore. The Over the counter (OTC) drugs market in Taiwan is anticipated to register a CAGR of 5.82% from 2022 to 2027.

During the forecast period, the Over the Counter Drugs Market in Latin America is anticipated to grow at a steady CAGR. However, Latin American countries are just tailing behind top Asian contributors, with their newly emerging markets in Brazil and Argentina.

The MEA Over the Counter Drugs Market is expected to be valued at USD 7.81 billion by 2027. The adoption of OTC drugs is growing consistently in the Middle East and Africa. In this region, the Saudi Arabia Over the counter (OTC) drugs market is predicted to grow at 9.2% CAGR from 2022 to 2027.


GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson and Johnson, Novartis, Bayer, Pfizer, GSK Boehringer Ingelheim, Sanofi, Takeda, and PGT Healthcare are the top companies contributing to the Over the counter (OTC) drugs market. GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson and Johnson, Novartis, and Sanofi possess the maximum market share. The extension of OTC services for drugs dealing with chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension is a new trend.


  • In October 2022, Viatris, a biopharmaceutical company made from the merger between Mylan and Pfizer's Upjohn, plans to expand revenue by selling its European consumer health products. The company has discussed offering a $ 3 billion deal for its European Over the Counter Drugs Market with its business partner Biocon Biologics. The other party with whom the deal is to be signed is yet to be released, and the company hopes to earn profits through this sale. 
  • In October 2022, Predictions of economic downfall and constraints for generic drugs by trade groups in Europe based on rising energy prices, COVID-19, and the Ukraine conflict have been brushed off and denied by the second largest market holder company for generic drugs, Novartis Sandoz unit CEO Narasimhan. 
  • In October 2022, WHO red-flagged a pill after testing and finding sub-standardized quality in their production in the lab results. The Kerala-based pharmaceutical company maiden pharmaceutical is in big trouble after the intervention of the international health organization. The pills are over the counter prescription-based type-2 diabetes painkillers whose quality seems to have been compromised in production. 
  • In October 2022, the Middle east established itself as a region with fast-growing pharmaceutical development. Egypt is expanding the pharmaceutical industry with the German company Bayer investing in an over the counter drug service in the region in partnership with several local pharmaceutical companies. The expansion is expected to benefit both the buyers and the native companies involved in the deal. 
  • In 2018, Pfizer and GSK collaborated to conduct extensive product line clinical trials in the research and developmental stage.
  • In Jan 2016, Bayer Company opened one of its most astronomical OTC drug manufacturing units in Asia-Pacific. The plant manufactures OTC medicines along with traditional Chinese herbs.

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How much was the global over the counter drugs market worth in 2023?

The global over-the-counter drugs market was valued at USD 206.7 billion in 2023.

Does this report include the impact of COVID-19 on the over the counter drugs market?

Yes, we have studied and included the COVID-19 impact on the global over-the-counter drugs market in this report.

Which segment by product had the major share of the over the counter drugs market in 2023?

Based on the product, the cold, cough and flu product segment accounted for the largest market share in 2023.

Which region led the over the counter drugs market in 2023?

The North American region accounted for the dominating market share in 2023. 

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