Published: 2023 March 14

Over the Counter Drugs Market Demand, Size, Share and Market Forecast 2023-2030

SKU : PH1931
180 pages
Report Summary
Table of Contents
List of Tables & Figures

Over the Counter Drugs Market is segmented By Product Type (Weight loss products, Analgesics, Cold, cough and flu products, Gastrointestinal products, Skin products, Mineral and Vitamin supplements, Sleeping Aids, Ophthalmic products and others), By Mode of Intake (Oral, Topical, Parenteral), By End-User (Online pharmacies, Hospital Pharmacies, Retail Pharmacies, and others), and By Region (North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa) Share, Size, Outlook, and Opportunity Analysis, 2023-2030.


Over the Counter Drugs Market Overview

Over the Counter Drugs Market is expected to grow at a high CAGR 5.1% during the forecasting period (2023-2030). Over-the-counter drugs are medicines that are sold directly to a consumer without a prescription. The increasing number of patent exposures of the prescription drugs and the inclination of key players towards OTC revenue generation leads to increased demand exposure drugs. The advancement and growth in distribution channels like online pharmacies, departleadsres, supermarkets, and others are also expected to drive the market.

Over the Counter Drugs Market Summary and Scope



Market CAGR


Segments Covered

By Product Type, By Mode of Intake, By End-User, and By Region

Report Insights Covered

Competitive Landscape Analysis, Company Profile Analysis, Market Size, Share, Growth, Demand, Recent Developments, Mergers and acquisitions, New Product Launches, Growth Strategies, Revenue Analysis, and Other key insights.

Fastest Growing Region

Asia Pacific

Largest Market Share 

North America

Over the Counter Drugs Market Dynamics and Trends

Global over the counter drugs market growth is driven by the growing need for self-medication by the consumers, growing healthcare awareness among the consumers, rising geriatric population who are more susceptible to several ailments like joint pains, increasing patent expirations of the prescription drugs, the cost-effectiveness of OTC drugs, the inclination of pharmaceutical companies from prescription drugs to OTC Drugs, and the presence of digital marketing key trends.

The inclination of pharmaceutical companies towards OTC drugs from Rx drugs is expected to drive the OTC drugs market. The increasing patent expiration rate results in switching from prescription to OTC by the key players as a counter-strategy. As per the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, in the US, approximately 106 ingredients, dosage strengths, indications have undergone a switch from prescription to OTC, translating to about 700 OTC products in the market. The economic benefits received from OTC drug usage led to savings on the drug cost and cost related to the clinical visit. Thus, it is significantly attributed to market growth in emerging economies.

However, substance abuse and less awareness, the risk associated with taking wrong and self-medication, and stringent regulations hamper the market's growth. For instance, in October 2018, FDA shuts down OTC drug manufacturers with longstanding and pervasive CGMP and labeling issues.

Over the Counter Drugs Market Segmentation Analysis

Based on type, the global over-the-counter drugs market is segmented into Analgesics, Cold, Cough, Flu products, Weight loss products, Gastrointestinal products, Skin products, Mineral, etc. vitamin supplements Sleeping aids, Oplmic products, and others.

The weight-loss products segment is expected to drive the and vitamin supplements forecast. This is owing to the rising awareness of the general population about health and an increase in the consumption of junk food, which leads to a rise in lifestyle-related diseases. On April 14, 2019, Gelesis, a biotechnology company that develops first-in-class hydrogel therapeutics for the treatment of obesity and other chronic diseases related to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, got US FDA approval for PLENITY™ (Gelesis100), as an aid in weight management in adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25–40 kg/m2, when used in conjunction with diet and exercise.

The VMS (vitamins, minerals, and supplements) segment also grows at a significant CAGR over the forecast period. This is owing to the large customer base for various products under this category. OTC products for these conditions are more of precautious nature than that of treatment or cure. The major players are adopting different strategies, including acquisitions, product launches, expansion, mergers, and others, which are also accelerating the market's growth. For instance, In November 2016, the German healthcare company Stada acquired UK VMS business Natures Aid for its high-quality branded products and complementary fit with Thornton & Ross, its UK-based OTC business. The acquisition moved them firmly into the natural health space. Also, Samworth Brothers acquired sports nutrition business Sci-MX in June 2015, intending to use their brand expertise to reinforce Sci-MX's market share and provide them with an entry point into the sports nutrition market.

Based on the intake mode, the global over-the-counter drugs market is segmented into Oral, Topical, and Parenteral.

The oral route of administration is the most preferred route of drug delivery due to its advantages like safety, proper patient compliance, ease of ingestion, pain avoidance, and versatility to accommodate various drugs. One of the oral OTC drug market trends is the use of orally disintegrating technology, which offers ease of use and convenience. The orally disintegrating tablets (ODT) and powders (ODP) have become a preferred dosage for consumers globally for medications in various therapeutic areas. These include traditional over-the-counter (OTC) medicines like ibuprofen and acetaminophen, montelukast and olanzapine, and various other drugs for indications such as migraine, sleeplessness, and erectile dysfunction.

Based on end-users, the global OTC Drugs market is segmented into Retail Pharmacies, Hospital Pharmacies, online pharmacies, etc.

The online sales segment of over-the-counter drugs is changing the market, menacing major OTC drug manufacturers and permitting minor companies to get their share in the market. Bayer's Aleve is one of the best-selling drugs in America, with a revenue of around $485 million in case of sales in 2016. But there was a drop in sales by 10% in 2017. This was attributable to the availability of alternative drugs online from small manufacturers. This shows that power is gradually shifting toward e-commerce, making it difficult for the major players.

Over the Counter Drugs Market Geographical Analysis

North America is dominating the global OTC drugs market in 2018 and is estimated to hold the largest market size over the forecast period (2020-2027) owing to the leading trend among pharmaceutical companies to switch from prescription to OTC drugs, increasing drug development and ease of availability of the drugs.

According to the National Institute of Health, 93% of adults in the US prefer to treat their minor ailments with OTC medicines before seeking professional care, and 85% of parents in the US prefer to treat their children's small diseases with an OTC medicine before seeking professional care. 

There are around 100,000 OTC drug products marketed and sold in various outlets, such as pharmacies and stores in the US.

For example, proton pump inhibitors like esomeprazole (Nexium 24HR) and stomach acid blockers like ranitidine (Zantac 150), used for heartburn, are examples of drug products that have made the Rx-to-OTC switch. The emergency contraceptive pill ("the morning-after pill"), also known as Plan B One-Step, is now available OTC without any age restriction and can be found on the shelves in many pharmacies the U.S.

The vast number of OTC drugs generating significant revenues in the region is expected to boost the market. For instance, according to the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit Consumer Healthcare Protection Association, the top-selling OTC drug categories in 2018 (million) were Oral analgesics with $4,323, Heartburn with $3,229, Antiperspirants with $3,034, etc.

Over the Counter Drugs Companies and Competitive Landscape

  • Some of the key players in the global over-the-counter drugs market are Bayer HealthCare, Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Boehringer Ingelheim, Sanofi, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Alkem Laboratories Limited.
  • The key players are adopting various strategies such as product launches, mergers & acquisitions, partnerships, and collaborations, contributing to the Over the Counter drugs market globally. For instance,
  • In January 2019, Innovus Pharmaceuticals, Inc., an emerging commercial-stage pharmaceutical company, launched Xyralid® Suppositories to reduce swelling of hemorrhoidal tissues and provide pain relief from burning, itching, and discomfort. Xyralid® Suppositories received a Product License Application ("PLA") in Canada, and the product is available as an over-the-counter ("OTC") or behind-the-counter drug and will not require a prescription. The product is now available in Canada directly through the Company's website and its Beyond Human® marketing and sales platform.
  • In May 2019, Innovus Pharmaceuticals, Inc., announced that Taro Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc., will supply Innovus Pharma, through the Company’s wholesaler, Taro’s 5% Minoxidil Foam for men and women under its approved ("ANDA") No. 209074 from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ("FDA"). Innovus Pharma will launch the drug under its own trademark Regoxidine™.
  • On July 6, 2018, Pfizer announced that the MHRA had approved the reclassification of the proton pump inhibitor (PPI) Nexium Control (esomeprazole), making it available for the consumers to purchase it without a prescription.
  • In November 2018, Elite Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ("Elite" or the “Company"), a specialty pharmaceutical company developing abuse-deterrent opioids and niche generic products, launched generic methadone hydrochloride 5mg and 10 mg tablets by Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, Inc., USA (“Glenmark”), Elite’s marketing alliance partner.
  • In July 2018, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories (DRL) today launched over-the-counter Esomeprazole magnesium delayed-release capsules USP, 20 mg, used to treat acid reflux, in the US market. Esomeprazole Magnesium Delayed-Release Capsules USP, 20 mg is an over-the-counter (OTC) therapeutic equivalent generic version of Nexium 24 hour capsules.
  • In January 2018, J&J, GlaxoSmithKline and Reckitt Benckiser were in a race to buy Pfizer's $20 billion consumers. However, the final two competitors are Reckitt Benckiser and GSK.


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What is the Projected CAGR value of the Over the Counter Drugs Market?
Over the Counter Drugs Market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.1% during the forecasting period 2023-2030.
Which region controlled the global market during 2023-2030?
North America region Controls the Over the Counter Drugs Market during 2023-2030.
Which is the fastest growing region in the Over the Counter Drugs Market?
Among all regions, Asia Pacific is the fastest growing market share during the forecast period.