Worldwide Over-the-Counter (OTC) Drug Market25 Feb 2011 • by Natalie Aster
New York - A robust over-the-counter (OTC) drug market exists in less developed regions, where OTC is often the most practical distribution method. According to the report “Worldwide Over-the-Counter (OTC) Drug Market” by Kalorama Information, 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.”
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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 report investigates the strategies pharmaceutical companies are using in the international OTC market. It includes market sizes and forecasts in five general segments.
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