Home » Over the Counter (OTC) Analgesics Market Size by Revenue, Regional Analysis and Forecast 2022-2031

Over the Counter (OTC) Analgesics Market Size by Revenue, Regional Analysis and Forecast 2022-2031

by Lauren Brown
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The over the counter (OTC) analgesics market is expected to register a CAGR of nearly 4.5% during the forecast period, with a revenue of approximately USD 25,114 million in 2020 and expected to reach USD 32,705 million by 2026.

COVID 19 pandemic is affecting the OTC market globally. The lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic has slowed the production of APIs resulting in less availability and higher costs for the materials required for the products. Over-the-counter drugs can address the mild symptoms of COVID-19 patients. Thus, OTC drugs have come into significant focus for the management of the pandemic.

In May 2020, The European Commission has launched the European Research Area (ERA) corona platform, which will provide information associated with coronavirus research and innovation. In addition, the European Medicine Agency has recommended using non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and paracetamol, to treat mild symptoms of COVID-19 in the lowest dose form.

Furthermore, as the geriatric population is more susceptible to the infection, due to weakened immune systems, and the lack of a potential vaccine or treatment, the number of older adults suffering from coronavirus is high. Over-the-counter drugs can address the mild symptoms of COVID-19 patients. Thus, OTC drugs have come into significant focus for the management of the pandemic.


The major factors boosting the growth of the market studied include the increasing demand in topical analgesics, growth in the geriatric population resulting in the rising prevalence of various diseases, and the cost-efficiency of OTC analgesics drugs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2019, 20.4% of adults had chronic pain and 7.4% of adults had chronic pain that frequently limited life or work activities With the growing aging population, the demand for pain relief solutions is increasing, as aged people are more prone to chronic pain.

The continuous growth of the geriatric population leads to several old age problems, for which the patients refrain from going to the hospitals, and rather get medications and treatment at home. Such factors lead to the growing importance and adoption of basic analgesics OTC products in the market. These drugs are taken for years by the older patient population, which keeps the OTC demand consistently high in the market.

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The growing awareness of the internet medication in the developed nations is boosting the market growth. As per the Mitsui & Co Global Strategic Studies Institute Report 2019, in Germany, internet pharmacies gained prominence, and online sales as a percentage of total OTC drug sales in 2018 was topped with 17%, the highest in the world. Additionally, there is a high prevalence of self-medication in pregnant women in France. As per the research article published in Nursing and Midwifery Studies 2019, the overall prevalence rate of self-medication was 38.46%. The rising prevalence of self-medication will propel the overall market growth.

According to the article published in Current Clinical Pharmacology, in November 2019, overall mean prevalence of self medication practices in India was 53.57%. Awareness of the medication seems to be a major reason to practice self medication , and the practice was noticed more among individuals from a middle-lower class family with a prevalence rate of 26.31. Furthermore, minor ailments were the primary reason for SM, among which headache was the most commonly reported

OTC medicines help fulfill a growing consumer appetite for self care. Due to these multiple benefits, the increase in self medication is likely to continue to drive the growth of the market during the forecast period

Key Market Trends

Retail Pharmacies Segment by Distribution Channel is Expected to Dominate the Market

In today’s scenario, the public is increasingly adopting retail pharmacy as a one-stop-shop to buy all the over-the-counter products which can be useful at home, and OTC products along with analgesics are one of the important parts of this distribution channel segment. The fact that a large number of a growing population cannot afford to reach hospitals to check up on a regular basis and need the OTC products quickly, raises the demand for this segment. Furthermore, most of the patients are preferring self-medication without consulting a doctor or a pharmacist. However, the hospital pharmacies segment is expected to maintain a relatively low growth rate in terms of revenue generated through the distribution of OTC drugs, as mostly the sale of OTCs takes place in the case of non-prescribed drugs, and it is relatively easy for most consumers to acquire these drugs either from retail pharmacies or online pharmacies. Thus, owing to the rising geriatric population, affordability, and high accessibility of OTC analgesics, the market is expected to witness rapid growth over the forecast period. Moreover, the pandemic and the lockdowns dint affect the segment as many countries even during the lockdowns had retail pharmacies open for emergency usage mostly.

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