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The Worldwide Over-the-Counter (OTC) Drug Market

Over-the-Counter (OTC) drugs are non-prescription drugs sold to consumers at pharmacies, convenience and grocery stores. These drugs include pain relievers, cough and cold remedies, sleeping aids, antifungals, and other products approved for use as a self-medication product. There has been a particular focus in the pharmaceutical industry on OTC drugs, and in several market research reports over the past decade, Kalorama Information has covered the strategies pharmaceutical companies are using in the OTC market. This report, The Worldwide Over the Counter (OTC) Drug Market has market sizes and forecasts in five general segments:

  • Analgesics
  • Allergy, Cough, Cold, Flu Remedies
  • Gastrointestinal Remedies
  • Dermatologics
  • Others, including
    • Smoking Cessation Products
    • Sleep Aids
    • Hair Growth Remedies
    • Diet Aids
Revenues for each segment were generated using dollar and unit sales for key products in each segment and region. The report provides examples of OTC drugs in each general region, segmented as follows:
  • Asia Pacific and Africa
  • Europe
  • North America
  • South America

Issues and trends explored in this study include:

  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Distribution and Safety Issues
  • Consumer Advertising and Promotion
  • Demographics
  • World Health and Life Expectancy Trends
  • Prescription vs. OTC Industry
  • Rx-to-OTC Switch Industry
  • Economic Trends
  • Health Insurance Issues and Trends
  • Consumer Issues and Trends
  • Regulatory Environment
  • Access to Medicine

The report includes incidence of conditions which are often treated with OTC medicines, health statistics related to the industry, birth rates, world population, populations by region and issues affecting the market as a whole. Information is presented as a worldwide overview, with special emphasis on the U.S., Japan, Germany, and other key markets. The market segments provide an overview of demographics, information about products available in each region, market estimates and forecasts. Additionally, a competitive analysis of leading providers and profiles of providers is covered. In-depth profiles are included for the following companies:

  • Bayer Consumer Health
  • Boehringer Ingelheim
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • McNeil Consumer (Johnson & Johnson)
  • Merck/Schering-Plough
  • Novartis Pharmaceuticals
  • Pfizer/Wyeth Consumer
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Reckitt Benckiser
  • Sanofi-Aventis
  • Taisho Pharmaceutical
  • Takeda
The information for this report was gathered using both primary and secondary research including comprehensive research of secondary sources such as company literature, databases, investment reports, and medical and business journals. Telephone interviews and email correspondence were the primary method of gathering information. For the purpose of this study, Kalorama Information conducted interviews with more than 100 key industry officials, consultants, health care providers, and government personnel. These sources were the primary basis in gathering information specifically relating to revenue and market share data presented in this report. Additional interviews were completed with relevant company representatives including marketing directors, division managers, and product representatives.

All market data pertains to the world market at the manufacturers’ level. Sales pharmaceutical companies have earned selling OTC products. The base year for data was 2009. Historical data was provided for the years 2007 and 2008, with forecast data provided for 2010 through 2014. Compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) are provided for the 2007-2009 and 2009-2014 periods for each region and/or segment covered. Competitive analysis is provided for the year 2009. The forecasted market analysis for 2009-2014 was largely based on demographic trends, new developments, and global expansion.


New York, August 3, 2010—A robust over-the-counter (OTC) drug market exists in less developed regions, where OTC is often the most practical distribution method, according to medical market research publisher Kalorama Information. According to The Worldwide Over-the-Counter (OTC) Drug Market, a recent Kalorama report, non-prescription pharmaceutical sales account for between 8% and 30% of total pharmaceutical markets around the globe, with higher ratios of OTC sales in developing nations. Kalorama estimates the OTC drug market in Asia-Pacific and Africa is worth $21 billion with an average growth of 4% annually.

In 2009, the OTC drug market in the developing BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) claimed a higher percentage of total pharmaceutical sales compared to more developed nations such as the United States, which had an OTC market share of 8%. India paced the quartet of burgeoning world powers with an OTC market share of 33%. China (23%), Russia (19%), and Brazil (17%) followed suit with double-digit OTC share claims.

Developed nations Japan and Australia are also important international players in the OTC market, though the greatest opportunities for growth and expansion remain in China, India, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, among other developing nations.

“It’s simply easier to work around regulatory and distribution issues in these countries by distributing product direct to consumers where it is medically possible,” said Melissa Elder, analyst for Kalorama Information. “It’s not a new trend, but we see sales to developing nations continuing to drive up the portion of all Pharma sales that are OTC.”

Additionally, in nations such as China the general population has an increasing ability to purchase products due to staggering increases in per capita Gross National Income between 2000 and 2005. Combined with the large population of China, there is now a more significant market opportunity for companies to sell products, especially OTC products. In comparison, the U.S. experienced a mere fraction of China’s per capita GNI growth during the same period, while Latvia was the only country with a greater GNI increase than China.

The state of the economy, lifestyles, cultures, and the condition of medical care all contribute to the percentage of people that seek to self-medicate. People are highly influenced by the cost of healthcare and will purchase OTC products in order to save money. Because a large number of consumers in India are uninsured, the majority of the population is forced to be conscious of health spending. As an example the report says that nearly 80% of India’s population actively self-medicates according to the report. In Kenya nearly 60% of the population actively self-medicates for similar reasons.

The Worldwide Over-the-Counter (OTC) Drug Market investigates the strategies pharmaceutical companies are using in the international OTC market. The report includes market sizes and forecasts in five general segments.

  • Executive Summary
    • BACKGROUND
    • SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY
    • SIZE AND GROWTH OF THE MARKET
      • Table Total World OTC Market Analysis, 2005-2014 (in billions of dollars at the manufacturers' level)
    • KEY ISSUES AND TRENDS AFFECTING MARKET
    • LEADING COMPETITORS
  • Introduction
    • BACKGROUND
    • DISTRIBUTION AND SAFETY ISSUES IN THE UNITED STATES
    • CONSUMER ADVERTISING/PROMOTION
    • WORLD HEALTH AND LIFE EXPECTANCY
      • Life Expectancy
        • Table Average Life Expectancy in Years by Country 1980, 2004 and 2009
      • Birth Rates
        • Table Crude Birth Rate per 1,000 Persons 2000, 2005 and Projected 2010
      • Tobacco Use
        • Table Percent of Smokers by Country
      • Obesity
        • Table Percent of Obese* Population, 2006 (%)
    • DECLINING GROWTH OF THE WORLD POPULATION
      • Table World Population 1980 to 2050 (millions)
    • PRESCRIPTION VS OVER-THE-COUNTER INDUSTRY
      • Table Total Pharmaceutical Markets, Prescription vs. Non-Prescription by Country, 2009
      • Rx-to-OTC Switch Industry
        • Table Leading FDA Approved Rx-to-OTC Switches, 1994-2009
      • Rx-to-OTC Switch Forecast in the United States
        • Table Potential Rx-to-OTC Switches, 2010-2014
    • ECONOMIC TRENDS
      • Table Total Healthcare Expenditures as a Percent of GDP by Country 1990, 2000 and 2006
      • Purchasing Power Trends
        • Table Gross National Income Comparison by Country 2000-2005
      • U.S. Healthcare Market
        • Table National Healthcare Expenditures in the United States 1960-2015 (millions)
      • U.S. Healthcare Challenges
    • HEALTH INSURANCE ISSUES AND TRENDS
      • Table Health Insurance Trends in the United States 2003-2007
    • CONSUMER ISSUES AND TRENDS
      • U.S Consumers
      • Consumers around the World
    • ACCESS TO PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL SERVICES AND THE LINK TO SELF-MEDICATION
    • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
      • Revisions to Pharmaceutical Affairs Law (PAL) in Japan
      • Russian Beneficiary Drug Provision Program
      • A Third Class of Drugs in the United States
  • OTC Markets in Asia-Pacific and Africa
    • OVERVIEW
    • DEMOGRAPHICS
      • Table Total Midyear Population by the Five Most Populated Countries in Asia-Pacific, 2005-2025 (in thousands)
      • Table Total Midyear Population in Africa by Region, 1995-2025 (in thousands)
    • OTC PRODUCT SEGMENTS
      • Table Examples of Marketed OTC Products in Asia-Pacific and Africa (Product Name by Type and Marketer)
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
      • Table Asia-Pacific/Africa OTC Market as a Percentage of World Market, 2009 and 2014
      • Table Asia-Pacific/Africa OTC Market Analysis, 2005-2014
      • OTC Product Segment Market Analysis
        • Table Asia-Pacific/Africa OTC Market Analysis by Product Segment, 2005-2014
      • Markets by Country
        • Table Asia-Pacific/Africa OTC Market Analysis by Selected Country, 2009
  • OTC Markets in Europe
    • OVERVIEW
    • DEMOGRAPHICS
      • Table Total Midyear Population by the Five Most Populated Countries in Europe, 2005-2025 (in thousands)
    • OTC PRODUCT SEGMENTS
      • Table Examples of Marketed OTC Products in Europe (Product Name by Type and Marketer)
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
      • Table European OTC Market as a Percentage of World Market, 2009 and 2014
      • Table European OTC Market Analysis, 2005-2014 (in millions of dollars at the manufacturers' level)
      • OTC Product Segment Market Analysis
        • Table European OTC Market Analysis, Markets by Product Segment, 2005-2014
      • Markets by Country
        • Table European OTC Market Analysis by Selected Country, 2009
  • OTC Markets in North America
    • OVERVIEW
    • DEMOGRAPHICS
      • Table Total Midyear Population by the Five Most Populated Countries in North America, 2005-2025 (in thousands)
    • OTC PRODUCT SEGMENTS
      • Table Examples of Marketed OTC Products in North America (Product Name by Type and Marketer)
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
      • Table North American OTC Market as a Percentage of World Market, 2009 and 2014
      • Table North American OTC Market Analysis, 2005-2014
      • OTC Product Segment Market Analysis
        • Table North American OTC Market Analysis by Product Segment, 2005-2014
      • Markets by Country
        • Table North American OTC Market Analysis by Selected Country, 2009
  • OTC Markets in South America
    • OVERVIEW
    • DEMOGRAPHICS
      • Table Total Midyear Population by the Five Most Populated Countries in South America, 2005-2025 (in thousands)
    • OTC PRODUCT SEGMENTS
      • Table Examples of Marketed OTC Products in South America (Product Name by Type and Marketer)
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
      • Table South American OTC Market as a Percentage of World Market, 2009 and 2014
      • Table South American OTC Market Analysis, 2005-2014
      • OTC Product Segment Market Analysis
        • Table South American OTC Market Analysis by Product Segment, 2005- 2014
      • Markets by Country
        • Table South American OTC Market Analysis by Selected Country, 2009
  • Summary of World OTC Markets
    • OVERVIEW
      • Table Total World OTC Market Analysis, 2005-2014
      • OTC Product Segment Market Analysis
        • Table Total World OTC Market Analysis, Markets by Product Segment, 2005-2014
      • Markets by Country
        • Table Top Ten World OTC Markets by Country, 2009
  • Leading OTC Manufacturers
    • OVERVIEW
    • COMPETITOR ANALYSIS
      • Table Leading Suppliers Shares of the OTC Market by Estimated Revenues-2007, 2008, and 2009
    • SIGNIFICANT MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS
      • Sanofi-Aventis and Chattem Consumer
      • Schering-Plough and Merck & Co.
      • Wyeth and Pfizer
      • Bristol-Myers Squibb and Novartis AG
      • Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer
      • Bayer and Roche
      • Reckitt Benckiser and Adams Respiratory Therapeutics
      • Reckitt Benckiser and Boots Healthcare
    • LEADING CORPORATE PROFILES
      • BAYER HEALTHCARE AG
      • BOEHRINGER INGELHEIM GMBH
      • GLAXO SMITH KLINE
      • MC NEIL CONSUMER
      • MERCK/SCHERING-PLOUGH
      • NOVARTIS CONSUMER
      • PFIZER/WYETH
      • PROCTER & GAMBLE
      • RECKITT BENCKISER
      • SANOFI-AVENTIS/CHATTEM
      • TAISHO PHARMACEUTICAL
      • TAKEDA PHARMACEUTICAL
  • List of Major Companies

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