Non-prescription or Over-the-Counter (OTC) drugs are medications that can be obtained without doctor’s prescription. OTC drugs are generally regulated based upon their active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) to ensure safe use of drugs without a physician’s supervision. Global OTC drugs market can be classified on the basis of products into analgesics, dermatological, gastrointestinal, vitamins & minerals, cough/cold & flu products, ophthalmic, smoking cession aids, sleeping aids, weight loss and others. Out of these, analgesics, cold & flu, gastrointestinal, dermatological and vitamins & minerals collectively commands approximately half of the market share.
By geography, North America & Western Europe constitute majority of the global market, while Asia Pacific, especially India and China, is expected to show the highest growth potential in next few years due to higher adoption of OTC drugs over prescription-only drugs.
Key manufacturers Johnson and Johnson, Sanofi, Pfizer and GSK control almost half of the global OTC market. Other players include PGT healthcare, Novartis, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Takeda, etc. OTC market is expected to witness consolidation in future, majorly driven by their desire to expand OTC drug portfolio and long-term commercial priorities.
OTC drugs provide various benefits over prescription drugs like, convenience, easy accessibility, relatively lower cost and customer-empowering qualities. Factors like increasing self-medication awareness in urban areas and growing pressure from customers, pharmaceutical manufacturers and regulatory bodies to change the status of prescription medications to OTC non-prescription status are some of the major growth drivers within the OTC drugs market. Furthermore, cost-conscious insurance programs are encouraging and providing incentives to customers who are engaged in self-treatment and are using novel OTC drugs.
High possibility of substance abuse and lack of awareness among rural population in under-developed and developing countries can pose major challenges to the OTC drug market. In addition, strict FDA regulations for product differentiation or OTC line extensions are restraining the growth of OTC drug market.
ASDReport.com has a good collection of reports covering OTC drugs. The reports cover market forecast and other topics related to OTC drugs.