Saudi Arabia Over the Counter Drugs Market – By Product Type (Analgesics, Cough, Cold & Flu Products, Vitamins & Minerals, Dermatological Products, Gastrointestinal Products, Ophthalmic Products, Sleep Aid Products, Weight Loss/Diet Products, Others), By Formulation Type (Tablets, Liquids, Ointments, Sprays), By Distribution Channel (Pharmacies, Online Drug Stores, Convenience Stores) – Industrial Analysis on Size, Share, Trends and Growth Factors (2024 to 2029)

Updated On: June, 2024
ID: 897
Pages: 121

Saudi Arabia Over the Counter Drugs Market Size (2024 to 2029)

The Saudi Arabia OTC Drugs Market was estimated to be worth 873.47 million in 2024 and is anticipated to reach 1059.23 million by 2029, with a CAGR of 7.89% during the forecast period.

The term "Over the counter" mentions pharmaceuticals bought across the counter without needing a physician's prescription. OTC drugs are used to treat and prevent minor disorders. As a growing aging population, there is an increasing push to be able to license OTC medicines for the use of treatment of chronic conditions.

Current Scenario of the Saudi Arabia Over-the-Counter Drugs Market

The Saudi Arabian over the counter drug market has accounted for a significant market share in the past few years and is anticipated to grow considerably during the forecast period. According to various study reports, 81.4% of the general population in Saudi Arabia has used pharmaceuticals without a prescription at some point in their lives. The presence of strict government regulations in the healthcare industry, growing chronic disease incidence, and escalating geriatric population are primarily driving the expansion of market revenue across the region. According to data provided by a few survey reports, approximately 94% of participants reported the use of OTC drugs. Among these people, 55.6% remained healthy, and 15.2% reported drug-related side effects after the consumption of OTC drugs.


Saudi Arabia's OTC Drug market is expected to maintain a strong growth drive due to the rapidly growing population and a strong inflow of migrants into the country. The market is dominated by branded drugs of various international market leaders. These drugs are wholesaled under a second brand name in association with local companies and distributors.

The Saudi Arabia OTC drug market is driven by factors such as the increasing prevalence of seasonal diseases, increasing awareness of self-medication and the proper use of medications, and strong brand reliability for multinational drugs in Saudi Arabia are factors expected to drive demand for the OTC Drugs market over the forecast period. Moreover, increasing disposable income, healthcare spending, growing healthcare infrastructure, and the growing assault of health insurance companies in Saudi Arabia are increasing the growth of the OTC Drugs market in Saudi Arabia. The growing advancements in the healthcare sector of Saudi Arabia are due to government initiatives and rising investments by the private sector. The Kingdom's Vision 2030 program showed the enhancement of healthcare services, including incorporating advanced medical technologies and modernization of healthcare infrastructure. These advancements will provide market growth opportunities. Unlike other developed countries, the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) rules and regulations are stringent, enhancing people's trust in OTC medications and expanding market share growth.  The growing product innovations, the geriatric population, and the favorable regulatory framework augment Saudi Arabia's drug market revenue.


The primary factor limiting the growth of Saudi Arabia's over-the-counter drugs market is the presence of strict regulations by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) for approval of the drugs. Another primary factor is the misuse of over-the-counter drugs by people due to limited awareness and knowledge, which hampers the regional market expansion. According to survey data published by Cureus in 2024, about 11.96% of participants had adequate knowledge, 56.44% had moderately adequate knowledge, and 31.6% had inadequate knowledge about the safety of using OTC medications. The data was published in "Public Awareness and Practice regarding Over-the-counter Medication: A cross-sectional study in Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia". According to the data published by "Suspected inappropriate use of prescription and non-prescription drugs among requesting customers: A Saudi community pharmacists' perspective," the most commonly misused OTC drugs are cough products, followed by cold and flu products and first-generation antihistamines. The massive competition among the market players due to the availability of generic and brand drugs and the high chances of adulterated and tampered low-quality products with limited drug efficacy is expected to impede the market expansion of OTC drugs in Saudi Arabia. The side effects associated with the consumption of certain OTC drugs are expected to limit the adoption rate among the people of Saudi Arabia.


Saudi Arabia Over-the-Counter Drugs Analysis By Product Type

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

The Analgesics segment held the most significant share in the Saudi Arabia over-the-counter drugs market. The increased demand for analgesics due to rising common cases of headaches, body aches, and musculoskeletal issues drives the segment's growth. Al-Khamees et al. reported that OTC analgesics were commonly used OTC medicines, with diclofenac being the most commonly used analgesic.

Cough, cold, and flu products are estimated to have the fastest growth during the forecast period. The rising prevalence of colds and coughs among people due to various factors like climatic conditions and highly contagious viruses drives the segment's growth.

The gastrointestinal and dermatological products are expected to grow the fastest during the forecast period. The escalating incidence of skin disorders and gastric problems like stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea, and vomiting are all enhancing the demand for over-the-counter drugs across the region, leading to market share growth.

Saudi Arabia Over-the-Counter Drugs Analysis By Formulation Type

  • Tablets
  • Liquids
  • Ointments
  • Sprays

The tablets segment dominated the regional market with significant market share due to their wide adoption among the people. Tablets have broad demand among the people. Various studies suggest that tablets are the preferred choice of medicine compared to liquid or powder formulations for people above 12 years of age. The tablets are easy and safe to administer and are widely used oral routes that fuel the segment growth.

The liquids segment is estimated to grow prominently during the forecast period due to the growing number of children across the country. Syrups are easy to consume and show appetite stimulation and therapeutic effects for children.

Saudi Arabia Over-the-Counter Drugs Analysis By Distribution Channel

  • Pharmacies
  • Online Drug Stores
  • Convenience Stores

The Pharmacies segment held the most significant market share in Saudi Arabia's market revenue. Saudi Arabia has strict rules and regulations regarding OTC drugs; only community pharmacies have sales of OTC drugs; unlike developed countries, OTC drugs are not available in supermarkets and hypermarkets, which majorly drives the segment growth—the rising establishments of various small community pharmacies fueling the expansion of the segment revenue. Community pharmacists are the primary contact for patients requiring OTC medicines; most prefer pharmacies due to the availability of experienced and professional pharmacists.

Due to rising technological advancements nationwide, the online drugstore segment is estimated to grow moderately during the forecast period.  

Recent Market Developments

  • In August 2023, Daewoong Pharmaceutical Co., a South Korean pharmaceutical company, announced that it had applied to the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) for regulatory approval of its new diabetes treatment drug, Envlo tablet (API—enavogliflozin).
  • In November 2023, BeiGene, a global, science-driven biotechnology company, and NewBridge Pharmaceuticals, a specialty company in the Middle East and Africa region, announced that BRUKINSA (Zanubrutinib) had received approval from the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) for treatment of adult patients with Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL).
  • In June 2022, Astellas Pharma, a global pharmaceutical company, officially inaugurated its newly established Scientific and Technical Office in Riyadh. The office opening is part of Astella's long-term commitment to the Kingdom. It stems from the company's strong belief in leveraging technology to better serve local patients and communities by supporting the local healthcare infrastructure with innovative medicines and treatments.  

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