Over-the-counter drugs are medicines that can be bought without a medical prescription. The over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are used for various minor illnesses such as relieving pains, itches, and aches. These medicines are also helpful in preventing or curing diseases such as minor infections and wounds. In several nations, the OTC drugs are manufactured by certain governing agency that has got the license for its production and selling in the market. This is to make sure that these medicines comprise the ingredients in the exact amount that is needed for the safe and effective treatment of the ailment when consumed without the prescription. These drugs are regulated frequently for their ingredients rather than the final product.
There are several factors driving the global over-the-counter drugs market growth. The rising trend for self-medication, people taking efforts for saving money over medicines in developing countries, shift from prescription to OTC drugs by pharmaceuticals companies, increasing demand in emerging nations, increasing awareness about these medicines among the people, and rising patent expiration are some of the fueling factors behind the growth of the global over-the-counter drugs market. Several pharmaceutical companies are also focusing on the manufacturing of over-the-counter drugs, observing the growth avenues in the market. However, the persistent concern about the wrong diagnosis and taking wrong medicines is likely to restrict the market growth in the future.
The global over-the-counter drugs market is broadly divided into product and region. In terms of product, the global over-the-counter drugs market is segregated into flu & cough products, cold, analgesics, weight loss products, gastrointestinal products, vitamin & mineral supplements, skin products, ophthalmic products, and so on.
Based on geography, the global over-the-counter drugs market is led by North America within the forecast period. This is attributed to the presence of key players in the region, easy availability, increased demand for high-quality products, and so on. The region is trailed by Europe as a second leading market in the world. This is credited to the rising awareness among the people regarding the usage of over-the-counter drugs in the region. Not so far, Asia Pacific is also likely to project significant growth in the coming years due to the increasing number of pharmaceutical companies investing in the industry, along with high demand for health supplements.
The global over-the-counter drugs market is led by key players like Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Bayer HealthCare, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Alkem Laboratories Limited, Cipla, Inc., Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Takeda, Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc, Piramal, Innovus Pharmaceutical Inc., Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, etc. To cite, a well-known pharmaceutical company, Hamdard Laboratories in September 2020 launched six new ranges of over-the-counter products for the treatment of common ailments like cold, cough, flu, headache, painkillers, and so on. This aims to strengthen the company’s position in the regional market and in turn in the global over-the-counter drugs market.