Over-the-counter medicine is also known as OTC or nonprescription medicine. All these terms refer to medicine that people can buy without a prescription. These drugs are sold directly to a consumer without a prescription from a healthcare professional. OTC drugs treat a variety of illnesses and their symptoms. OTC drugs enable people to relieve many annoying symptoms and to cure some diseases simply and without the cost of seeing a doctor. However, safe use of these drugs requires knowledge, common sense, and responsibility. Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are safe and effective when people follow the directions on the label and as directed by the health care professional.

Market Statistics:

The Global Over the Counter Drugs Market is estimated to account for US$ 150.7 Mn in terms of value by the end of 2022.


Increasing availability and manufacturing of OTC drugs for broad range of common diseases or conditions is expected to augment the growth of the global over the counter drugs market over the forecast period. This can be attributed to the growing patient population, coupled with the rising trend of self-medication. In January 2021, Hamdard Laboratories launched 12 OTC drugs that will help boost immunity. Over-the-counter drugs have been launched in the Indian market. Hamdard will continue to launch products that will help consumers tide over hard times and keep themselves healthy, Hamdard Laboratories said in a statement.


Growing support and collaboration for developing OTC drugs is expected to provide lucrative growth opportunities for players in the global over the counter drugs market. For instance, in May 2022, Union Government of India proposed to introduce over-the-counter (OTC) drugs in India through an amendment in the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules and allow their sale in the retail market without doctors’ prescription. A draft notification issued by Union health ministry has proposed that 16 drugs, which include common antipyretic medicine such as paracetamol 500 mg, some laxatives, nasal decongestants, and topical antifungal creams be included in the over-the-counter (OTC) drugs category.


Probability of substance abuse and lack of awareness about OTC drugs are some major factors expected to hamper the growth of the global over the counter drugs market. For instance, people are not aware about the availability and benefits of OTC drugs. Awareness regarding over the counter (OTC) drugs will help to lead better medical practices and will prevent any untoward medical occurrence. Abuse of OTC drugs is most prevalent among teens. Although vigilance and patient education, pharmacists can raise awareness of the critical need to prevent misuse and abuse of over the counter drugs (OTC) drugs.

To know the latest trends and insights prevalent in this market, click the link below:


Global Over the Counter Drugs Market - Impact of Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic:

The outbreak of COVID-19 has increased demand for OTC drugs for the treatment of common symptoms, such as cough, cold, and flu related to the virus. Although it was found that none of the OTC drugs could cure the virus (COVID-19), they provide relief from the common signs and symptoms of the virus. In April 2020, Medical and Health Department of Andhra Pradesh (India) launched 'COVID Pharma', a mobile app to keep track of people purchasing OTC drugs for cold, cough, and fever from pharmacies. Furthermore, to meet increase in demand, in April 2020, Cipla Health partnered with Zomato, Swiggy, and Dunzo for home deliveries of over-the-counter wellness products in India.

Key Takeaways:

The global over the counter drugs market was valued at US$ 143.7 Mn in 2021 and is forecast to reach a value of US$ 201.4 Mn by 2028 at a CAGR of 4.9% between 2022 and 2028.

Among, product type cough, cold, and flu products segment held dominant position in the global over the counter drugs market in 2021, accounting for 25.8% share in terms of value, increasing approval and launch of new products is expected to propel growth of the segment during the forecast period.

Market Trends:

  1. Increase in demand for OTC drugs worldwide is expected to aid in the growth of the global over the counter drugs market. For instance, in July 2022, AFT Pharmaceuticals and RooLife Group launched a range of AFT’s OTC pharmaceuticals through their store on the China Cross Border E-Commerce (CBEC) online platform Tmall Global.
  2. Increase in approvals of novel drugs is expected to propel the growth of the global over the counter drugs market. For instance, in January 2020, Tetra Bio Pharma Inc. received two Drug Identification Numbers (DIN) from Health Canada for the first OTC products to be marketed under its TERPACAN banner.

Competitive Landscape:

Major players operating in the global over the counter drugs market include Pfizer Inc., Perrigo Company PLC, GlaxoSmithKline PLC, Mylan NV, Bayer AG, Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC, Johnson and Johnson, Sanofi, and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd., among others.

Recent Developments:

In 2019, Mankind Pharma launched a new OTC product, called KABZEND Natural Laxative Granules, in order to help gain relief from constipation.

In April 2019, Tremotyx Biomedical its new aloe vera-based over-the-counter (OTC) for treatment of eczema in the United States, upon receiving approval from USFDA.

In January 2019, PharmaHopers announced the launch of its Derma Franchise category in India for manufacturing of OTC and prescription dermatology products in the country.

In March 2018, Zydus Cadila received US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) approval for marketing OTC version of Omeprazole and Sodium bicarbonate capsules, used for treating stomach and esophagus problems such as ulcers.


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