Global Over The Counter (OTC) Drugs Market - Segmented by Product Category (Cough, Cold and Flu Products, Analgesics, Dermatological Products, Gastrointestinal Products, Vitamin

The global market for over-the-counter (OTC) drugs valued at USD 120 billion and is estimated to scale up to USD 133.25 billion by the end of 2016. Considering the historical trend and possible future developments, the market is further expected to reach a value of USD 220 billion by 2021, growing at an expected CAGR of 10.6% during the forecast period of 2016-2021. Over the counter drugs are medications that can be secured without the need of a doctorprescription.

Global-Over-the Counter (OTC) Drugs Market-Market Dynamics

A switch by major pharmaceutical companies from Rx to OTC with the objective of investing less and earning more has been instrumental in the growth of the market in past 10-15 years. Companies such as Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, Sanofi, GSK etc. have increased their focus on OTC drugs development to fetch benefits from this promising market.


Some of the factors driving the market are:

Convenience of direct purchase

Increasing awareness regarding the medications required for minor health issues

Savings enabled by the usage of OTC drugs

Affordability of OTC drugs

Innovations in drugs

High acceptance and adoption in emerging markets


The high possibility of substance abuse happens to be a major setback in making a 100% switch from Rx to OTC drugs. Along with this, lack of awareness among the rural population in developing and underdeveloped economies and complications involved in taking wrong medications due to incorrect self-diagnosis are working against the growth of the market.

The global over-the-counter (OTC) drug market is segmented on the basis of product type and on the basis of geography. On the product forefront, the market is segmented into different categories such as analgesics, cough, cold and flu products, dermatological products, gastrointestinal products, vitamins, minerals, weight loss products, sleep aids, ophthalmic products, smoking cession aids and other products. Among these, the dermatological products, cough, cold and flu products, vitamins, minerals and supplements, analgesics and gastrointestinal products grabbed more than 50% of the market share. An interesting fact about these top performers is the indirect proportionality between their sales volume and revenue generation. For example, the skin products are sold least in volume but contribute the most to the market whereas, in the case of vitamins, minerals, and supplements, the sales volume is high but contribute least to the market mainly because of their low pricing.

Geographically, the OTC drug market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Latin America. Currently, North America and Western Europe constitute nearly 42% of the global market and Asia-Pacific occupies about 32% of the market. The USA, France, Germany, China, and Japan were the top 5 markets in the year 2015. Together they hold nearly 56% of the global OTC market. But these numbers are expected to change in the near future. It is expected that Asia-Pacific and Latin America are set to show highest market growth in the near future.

India is expected to enter the top 10 OTC drug markets in the world. The market in China is expected to grow at the highest rate in the coming five years. Latin American regions such as Brazil and Argentina will be second in the race, behind China. India is expected to see an exponential growth in the coming years. The market in the central European countries will grow faster than western European countries because of the increasing adoption rates of OTC drugs. The North American market, which is in its mature stage, will experience a decline in growth rate in coming five years. In fact, it is estimated to be dominated by generic prescription medicine. Nearly 92% of the prescribed medication will be of generic forms. This will be a result of the expected high patent cliff in the US pharmaceutical industry in the coming five years. The most drastic change in the market has been happening in Japan for the past five years. The growth rate has fallen to -2% and there seems to be a very little recovery in the coming years.

Some of the key players in the market are:


Boehringer Ingelheim




PGT healthcare


Other than these, many big and small companies are trying their hands at this business. A major change in the market is expected to create new global top 4 OTC drugs companies in 2016 and that change is Sanofiacquisition of BICHC division (exc. China).This deal will put Sanofi at the topmost position in the rankings, followed by Bayer, GSK and Johnson and Johnson. Sanofiacquisition of BI would make it the global number 1 in OTC gastrointestinal and global number 2 cold, cough, and allergy company.

Key Deliverables in the Study

Market analysis for the Over-the-Counter (OTC) drugs market, with region-specific assessments and competition analysis on the global and regional scale.

Market definition along with the identification of key drivers and restraints.

Identification of factors instrumental in changing the market scenario, rising prospective opportunities, and identification of key companies that can influence this market on a global and regional scale.

Extensively researched competitive landscape section with profiles of major companies along with their market share.

Identification and analysis of the macro and micro factors that affect the market on both global and regional scale.

A comprehensive list of key market players along with the analysis of their current strategic interests and key financial information.

A wide-ranging knowledge and insights about the major players in this industry and the key strategies adopted by them to sustain and grow in the studied market.

Insights on the major countries/regions where this industry is blooming and to also identify the regions that are still untapped.

1. Introduction

1.1 Market Definition

1.2 Report Description

1.3 Research Methodology

2. Executive Summary

2.1 Key Findings

2.2 Market Overview

3. Market Dynamics

3.1 Market Drivers

3.1.1 Product Innovation

3.1.2 High Penetration in emerging markets

3.1.3 Immense cost savings

3.1.4 Favorable regulatory framework

3.1.5 Inclination of pharmaceutical companies to switch from Rx to OTC drugs

3.2 Market Restraints

3.2.1 Probability of substance abuse

3.2.2 Lack of awareness among the rural regions

3.2.3 Incorrect self-diagnosis

3.3 Porter's five forces Analysis

3.3.1 Threat of new entrants

3.3.2 Industry Rivalry

3.3.3 Bargaining power of buyer

3.3.4 Bargaining power of supplier

3.3.5 Threat of substitute products

4. Market Segmentation

4.1 By Product Category

4.1.1 Cough, Cold and flu products

4.1.2 Analgesics

4.1.3 Dermatology products

4.1.4 Gastrointestinal products

4.1.5 Vitamins, mineral and supplements (VMS)

4.1.6 Weight loss/Dietary products

4.1.7 Ophthalmic Products

4.1.8 Sleep Aids

4.1.9 Others

4.2 By Geography

4.2.1 North America USA Canada Mexico

4.2.2 Europe France Germany UK Italy Spain Scandinavia BENELUX Rest of Europe

4.2.3 Asia-Pacific China Japan India Australia and New Zealand South Korea Rest of APAC

4.2.4 Middle East and North Africa GCC Egypt Morocco Rest of MENA

4.2.5 Latin America Brazil Argentina Colombia Rest of Latin America

4.2.6 Rest of the world

5. Competitive Landscape

5.1 Merger and Acquisition Analysis

5.2 Collaboration/ Partnerships

5.3 Market share Analysis

6. Company Profiles

6.1 Johnson and Johnson

6.2 Novartis

6.3 Bayer

6.4 Sanofi

6.5 Pfizer

6.6 GSK

6.7 Boehringer Ingelheim

6.8 PGT healthcare

6.9 Takeda

6.10 Others

7. Investment Opportunity

8. Future Outlook on the market

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