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Demand for over-the-counter drugs rising, says GBI Research
23 December 2015 • Author: Victoria White
Increasing pressures from customers, drug manufacturers and regulators to convert prescription medications to non-prescription status is one of the main drivers of growth within the over-the-counter drugs market.
Sumith Ladda, Analyst for GBI Research, says the benefits of using over-the-counter over prescription drugs include easy accessibility, lower costs, convenience and customer-empowering qualities. For this reason, over-the-counter drugs are ubiquitous and lucrative products, and allowing previously expensive prescription products into the over-the-counter drugs market is incredibly beneficial to its growth.
Ladda commented, “To date, the over-the-counter drugs market has primarily catered for common ailments such as coughs, colds and headaches, which are not perceived as requiring a visit to a medical practitioner. For the most part, the pharmaceutical industry is in agreement that the ‘easy’ prescription-to- over-the-counter switches have been completed, and that the coming years will be focused on chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension.
“Indeed, pharmacists can expect to attend to rarer and more complex conditions, and as such will be a key part of the movement towards greater patient autonomy and expanded access to healthcare.”
Rising costs of healthcare to drive the over-the-counter drugs market
GBI Research’s report also states that the rising costs of healthcare will drive the over-the-counter drugs market, as patients are encouraged to eschew prescription treatments for lower-priced alternatives.
Cost-conscious insurance programs will drive this trend even further by encouraging consumers to self-treat, especially with regard to chronic conditions, by providing dramatically increased incentives for the use of newly-approved over-the-counter drugs.
“This cultural shift towards greater self-reliance in healthcare means new competitors have identified the potential of over-the-counter products, with many pursuing major acquisitions to gain a foothold for growth. Even food companies such as Danone and Nestle are focusing on over-the-counter products, as they look to capitalize on growing consumer interest in personal wellbeing,” Ladda concluded.
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