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India Over-the-counter Drugs (OTC) Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2022 - 2027)

  • ID: 4756837
  • Report
  • April 2022
  • Region: India
  • 80 Pages
  • Mordor Intelligence


  • Abbott Laboratories
  • Cipla Inc.
  • Dabur India Limited
  • Emami Limited
  • GlaxoSmithKline PLC
  • Johnson & Johnson

The Indian over-the-counter (OTC) drugs market is expected to register a CAGR of 9.2% over the forecast period.

The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to have a significant impact on the market. For instance, India’s manufacturers rely heavily on imports of their active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) from China. The lockdown has slowed the production of APIs, resulting in less availability and higher costs for the materials required for the products. Owing to the high demand for essential OTC drugs, the government has restricted the export of some essential medicine. Besides over-the-counter painkiller and fever reducer paracetamol, drugs restricted for exports include common antibiotics, metronidazole, and those used to treat bacterial and other infections, as well as vitamin B1 and B12 ingredients. Due to the countrywide lockdown, the traditional supply chain of OTC drugs is facing a lot of difficulties. Many of the essential OTC drugs are not available. Even after the specific guidelines and support of the state government to transport the essential OTC drugs, many retail pharmacies are facing a shortage of stock. On the other hand, the online purchase of over-the-counter drugs has increased. To monitor and support the online purchase of medicine and OTC products, the central and states governments are devising new schemes and policies. For instance, in April 2020, the Medical and Health Department of Andhra Pradesh launched 'Covid Pharma', a mobile application to keep track of people purchasing medicines over-the-counter (OTC) for cough, cold, and fever from medical stores across the state.

The key factors propelling the growth of the Indian over-the-counter drugs market are the shift in consumer attitude toward self-medication, product innovations, and the inclination of pharmaceutical companies toward OTC drugs from prescription (RX) drugs.

Self-medication is the act of taking medicines designed and labeled for use in the treatment of common health problems without the prescription of a physician. Easy access, convenience, and time-saving are the most common reasons for self-medication. Most of India’s population relies on self-medication, and the purchasing power of the middle class is growing. This trend of self-medication is expected to drive growth in cough and cold formulations, gastrointestinal, analgesics, and dermatological drugs. According to a study “Prevalence and Predictors of Self-Medication Practices in India: A Systematic Literature Review and Meta-Analysis” published in Open Access Journal in August 2020, the prevalence of self-medication in India is 53.57%. The practice was seen highest among the middle-lower class family with a prevalence rate of 26.31%. The high prevalence of self-medication indicates the high demand for OTC drugs in India, which will drive the market in the country. However, self-medication was also seen to be based on income, occupation, and education. Familiarity with the medication appears to be a major reason to practice self-medication, and the practice was noticed more among individuals from middle-lower class families, with a prevalence rate of 26.31%. Furthermore, minor ailments were the primary reason for SM, among which headache was the most commonly reported. Furthermore, self-medication is seen as important for acute disorders and the management of chronic diseases, including minor ailments. Also, some of the critical reasons considered by the consumers to self-medicate are lack of time, the need for fast relief, and the high consulting fees of the physicians.

Moreover, the launch of new products will further drive the market. For instance, in August 2019, Emami Limited has launched OTC products like baby massage oil, cough and cold products, laxatives, digestives, memory boosters, and red toothpowder over the next year. A large number of drugs, such as antacids, cold and cough preparations, laxatives, analgesics, vitamins, anti-allergy products, are consumed as self-medicated products in India. Thus, these factors are expected to drive the growth of the overall market.

Key Market Trends

The Analgesics Segment is Expected to Register a Large Growth over the Forecast Period

OTC analgesics are commonly used for the treatment and management of headaches, fever, toothache, musculoskeletal injuries, and disorders, as well as menstrual cramps. The issues related to pain are major reasons for the self-medication of analgesics. According to the article published in September 2021, Interventional Pain and Spine Centre (IPSC) said that 19% of the Indian adult population is suffering from chronic pain of some kind, with 25% of prevalence in females. The major OTC analgesics used in India include acetaminophens and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen. The rising trend of self-medication with OTC analgesics and the launch of new products are projected to boost the market growth. Additionally, in February 2019, Bengaluru-based Strides Consumer Pvt Ltd launched two over-the-counter (OTC) products for smoking cessation and joint pain relief.

OTC analgesics have various applications in the treatment of fever, musculoskeletal injuries, headache and disorders, arthritis, and menstrual cramps that have increased the overall demand in the market. Other factors, such as obesity, stress, and lifestyle disorders, lead to chronic pain and different kinds of aches. The population is also widespread in the developing markets, as well as in high economic growth countries, such as India. Therefore, in these countries, the population contributes to the increasing demand and growth of analgesics in the market.

Competitive Landscape

The Indian over-the-counter (OTC) drugs market is moderately competitive in nature. The industry players are focusing on new product developments and acquisition strategies to gain market shares. The developing countries have also opened new growth avenues for pharmaceutical companies. Thus, the market has different challenges and requires innovative products facilitating new innovative OTC drugs. Additionally, the key players have been involved in various strategic alliances, such as acquisitions and collaborations, with the launch of advanced products to secure their position in the market. The major players in the market are Emami Limited, Dabur India Limited, Proctor & Gamble, Abbott Laboratories, and GlaxoSmithKline PLC.

Additional Benefits:

  • The market estimate (ME) sheet in Excel format
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Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown


  • Abbott Laboratories
  • Cipla Inc.
  • Dabur India Limited
  • Emami Limited
  • GlaxoSmithKline PLC
  • Johnson & Johnson

1.1 Study Assumptions and Market Definition
1.2 Scope of the Study
4.1 Market Overview
4.2 Market Drivers
4.2.1 Shift Toward Self Medication by Consumers
4.2.2 Product Innovations
4.2.3 Inclination of Pharmaceutical Companies Toward OTC Drugs from RX Drugs
4.3 Market Restraints
4.3.1 Price Cuts for Various Ingredients and Restrictions for Advertising
4.3.2 Lack of Specific Regulations for OTC Drugs
4.4 Porter's Five Forces Analysis
4.4.1 Threat of New Entrants
4.4.2 Bargaining Power of Buyers/Consumers
4.4.3 Bargaining Power of Suppliers
4.4.4 Threat of Substitute Products
4.4.5 Intensity of Competitive Rivalry
5 MARKET SEGMENTATION (Market Size by Value - USD Million)
5.1 By Product
5.1.1 Cough, Cold, and Flu Products
5.1.2 Analgesics
5.1.3 Dermatology Products
5.1.4 Gastrointestinal Products
5.1.5 Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements (VMS)
5.1.6 Other Products
5.2 By Distribution Channel
5.2.1 Hospital Pharmacies
5.2.2 Retail Pharmacies
5.2.3 Other Distribution Channels
6.1 Company Profiles
6.1.1 GlaxoSmithKline PLC
6.1.2 Emami Limited
6.1.3 Abbott Laboratories
6.1.4 Dabur India Limited
6.1.5 Procter & Gamble
6.1.6 Reckitt Benckiser
6.1.7 Sun Pharmaceuticals Limited
6.1.8 Cipla Inc.
6.1.9 Takeda Pharmaceutical Company
6.1.10 Johnson & Johnson
Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown

A selection of companies mentioned in this report includes:

  • GlaxoSmithKline PLC
  • Emami Limited
  • Abbott Laboratories
  • Dabur India Limited
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Reckitt Benckiser
  • Sun Pharmaceuticals Limited
  • Cipla Inc.
  • Takeda Pharmaceutical Company
  • Johnson & Johnson
Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown