The OTC drug market has grown rapidly over the past few years. Thanks to the major players in the market, such as Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, and GSK, focusing on OTC drug development and the conversion of prescription to OTC, the other market players have also been influenced. The diversity of pharmaceutical companies focusing on OTC has helped the market flourish with a faster growth rate.
Nevertheless, there are still many issues that hinder the market’s growth. Many safety problems are inherent to OTC drug purchase. With increasing safety issues, the government has tightened the rules to control purchase.
Time- and Money-saving
As of 2012, there are over 300,000 OTC drugs in the market, and according to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), annually a total of 2.9 billion retail tips purchase OTC products. These drugs help the patients in saving time that is spent on doctor visits and diagnostics test for minor ailments. Also, this saves money for the consumers, which is needed to visit a physician and on prescription.
Cost-saving by Healthcare Systems
OTC medications reduce the necessity to visit the doctor/physician. This saves resources for the healthcare industry in particular, thereby allowing it to divert its resources to more pressing healthcare issues, which would require physician involvement, such as diagnosis and treatment procedures for serious conditions. OTC medicines provide access to safe medication for nearly 180 million patients, while, at the same time, saving capital for the healthcare industry. Self-care via these medications is estimated to contribute to savings as high as USD 5 billion to the taxpayers and consumers in the United States annually. As per CHPA, OTC medication saves around USD 102 billion for the US healthcare system annually.
Self-Control over Health
The OTC medications provide the liberty to patients to eliminate the need to visit a physician or other clinical setting for common ailments. Instead, they can easily procure medications to address their ailment by procuring drugs without a prescription. According to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, around 81% of the adult population is using OTC medications. It is being helpful in providing symptomatic relief to around 60 million people. The statistics show that the consumers are aware of their health conditions and are paying attention to the treatment. OTC medication helps people meet healthcare needs and empower individuals about health management.
OTC drugs that can treat multiple symptoms are another example of innovative products. Innovation is also resulting in improved performance, in terms of speed, strength, etc., thus improving the length of the effect. The diversification of the product is also achieved, as targeting different age groups – children, adults, woman, and old people with different products – are emerging and will drive the OTC drug market in future. The manufacturers of OTC target the women group, resorting to angles like pregnancy, weight loss, and even self-expression, which leads to new innovations. Similarly, OTC brands target children groups, with innovative offerings that consider two key drivers: enhancing the fun look and feel, and making it easier for parents to administer the dose to their kids.