Increasing adoption of OTC drugs among the population and the rising prevalence of various seasonal is likely to impel the growth of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs market

Over-the-Counter Drugs Market by Products (Analgesics & Pain Relievers, Cough, Cold & Flu Products, Vitamin & Mineral Supplements, Gastrointestinal Products, Dermatological Products, Ophthalmic Products, Sleep Aids, Weight Loss/Dietary Supplements, and Smoking Cessation Aids and Others), by Distribution Channels (Drug Stores & Retail Pharmacies, Hospital Pharmacies, Online Pharmacies and Others)–Global Outlook & Forecast 2022-2030

According to the deep-dive market assessment study conducted by Growth+ Reports, the global over-the-counter drugs market was pegged at ~US$ 169.1 billion in 2021. The market is expected to witness a CAGR of ~8.2% from 2022 to 2030.

Factors contributing to the growth of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs market include the rising awareness about dietary supplements, an inclination of drug manufacturers for developing and launching OTC drugs, and the growing aging population. The rising prevalence of obesity among the population, rising alcohol consumption, changing lifestyle patterns, adoption of sedentary life, and growing desire for healthy living among the population are the factors driving the demand for these supplements. The improving utilization of OTC drugs to treat minor ailments among individuals is also the prime factor strengthening the market growth.

The increasing adoption of OTC drugs among the population and the rising prevalence of various seasonal and common illnesses are among the major factors fueling the growth of the OTC drug market. For instance, according to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), 81% of U.S. adults use over-the-counter medications as the first-line treatment for minor illnesses. Moreover, the growing deficiency of vitamins and minerals among pediatric as well as the adult population is also positively impacting the growth of the OTC drugs market.

Pharmaceutical companies in the market are focused on developing new drugs that can be used as first-line treatments for minor illnesses. They are also focused on developing innovative medicines such as clean medicines. For instance, in September 2020, Genexa a clean medicine company launched OTC clean medicine line for kids and adults. These medicines are made using the same active ingredients such as diphenhydramine, acetaminophen, and calcium carbonate and are free from artificial preservatives, dyes, flavors, and sweeteners. Genexa uses clean inactive ingredients such as organic blueberries, organic agave syrup, and citrus extract. Similarly, in September 2020, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories launched over-the-counter diclofenac sodium topical gel, the generic version of Novartis Corporation's Voltaren gel, used for arthritis pain, in the U.S. market.

Several drug manufacturers in over-the-counter drugs market are adopting strategies such as mergers and collaborations or signing agreements to develop new products. In April 2020, Takeda Pharmaceuticals entered into an agreement with Orifarm Group, a Danish pharmaceutical company to divest a portfolio of select non-core OTC and prescription pharmaceutical products sold in Europe. The portfolio divested to Orifarm includes OTC products, food supplements, and some prescription products in the anti-inflammatory, respiratory, cardiovascular, and endocrinology therapeutic areas. Such initiatives are attributed to the growth of the global OTC drugs market.

However, complications involved with wrong medication taken, drug misuse, and abuse are some of the factors hindering the over-the-counter drugs market growth to a certain extent. Even though these drugs are the preferred choice as a first-line treatment, some people misuse or overuse these drugs. Most abused medications include caffeine, antihistamines, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, antitussives, steroids, and sildenafil, among others. Cough medicines and painkillers are the most abused medications. Increasing misuse of these medications is a growing concern as they may exhibit potential harm which may inhibit their usage.

Regionally, the global over-the-counter drugs market has been segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Rest of the World. North America holds the leading position in the global over-the-counter drugs market, owing to well established healthcare structure, followed by Europe, owing to growing patient awareness regarding the consumption of OTC drugs, leading to self-medication practices. Asia Pacific is also anticipated to the growth of CAGR during the forecast period. China and India commanded the largest market share in the Asia Pacific region. The factors driving the growth in this region are the rising geriatric population, large population base, and increasing incidence of common illnesses such as flu, cold, cough, and headache. Moreover, the growing number of new pharmaceutical companies and frequent launch of new OTC medicines are further driving the market growth in this region. For instance, in April 2021, Hamdard Laboratories launched 12 Over the Counter (OTC) medicines that help boost immunity in the Indian market.

Some of the prominent players operating in the global over-the-counter drugs market include Johnson & Johnson, Novartis AG, Teva Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline plc, Bayer AG, PGT Healthcare, Pfizer Inc., Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck KGaA, Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC., Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC, and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, among others.

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