Europe Over-the-Counter (OTC) Drug Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 - 2026)

The Europe Over-the-Counter (OTC) Drug Market is Segmented by Product Type (Cough, Cold and Flu Products, Analgesics, Dermatology Products, Gastrointestinal Products, Vitamins, Mineral, and Supplements (VMS), Weight-loss/Dietary Products, Ophthalmic Products, Sleeping Aids, Other Product types), and Geography.

Market Snapshot

Study Period:


Base Year:



6.2 %

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Market Overview

Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are sold directly to a consumer without any prescription. The main factors driving market growth include increasing self-medication and new product launches.

The rising healthcare costs demand better accessibility and affordability of healthcare services. Self-medication with non-prescription drugs plays a vital role in this aspect and improves accessibility while providing cost benefits. There is also an increase in self-medication in Europe. According to the Association of the European Self-medication Industry, one out of two packages of medicines sold in Europe is a non-prescription medicinal product. The widespread use of OTC medications is linked with significant cost benefits to the healthcare providers of various countries. OTC medicines provide consumers with the opportunity to take adequate care of themselves when consulting a physician/doctor is not necessary, which is expected to drive the market growth.

Scope of the Report

As per the scope of this report, over the counter drugs are referred to as non-prescription drugs. These medicines can be bought by an individual without the doctor's prescription and are safe for consumption without the doctor’s consent.

By Product Type
Cough, Cold, and Flu Products
Dermatology Products
Gastrointestinal Products
Vitamins, Mineral, and Supplements (VMS)
Weight Loss/Dietary Products
Ophthalmic Products
Sleeping Aids
Other Product Types
United Kingdom
Rest of Europe

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Key Market Trends

Cough, Cold, and Flu Products Segment is Expected to Show Better Growth in the Forecast Period

The cough, cold, and flu Products segment holds the largest market share, and it is growing at the fastest rate. The increasing volume of use of Over-the-Counter (OTC) drugs in the cough/cold/flu category is driven by a rise in the number of individuals affected by these conditions. The growing prevalence of these common diseases (i.e., cough, cold, and flu) are found among the aging population that has led the patients to use more OTC drugs, as these drugs are readily available and can be bought without a doctor’s prescription. This saves both time and cost required to visit a physician/hospital. Consumers are thus more dependent on OTC cough and cold medicines as a first response to seek quick relief from symptoms.

OTC products, such as throat lozenges, provide immediate relief from throat tickles and contribute to the market. Owing to their easy procurement and increasing market demand, the sale of OTC drugs for cough, cold, and flu is increasing in Europe. Furthermore, the elderly population is more prone to diseases, which is also expected to drive the OTC drug market in the future.

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Competitive Landscape

The European OTC market is highly competitive and consists of several major players. Most of the OTC products are generic drugs; thus, competitive advantage through product innovation is not possible, and major players primarily compete through product branding and competitive pricing practices. In terms of market share, few of the major players currently dominate the market. However, several generic players increase their market presence by introducing new generic OTC drugs with fewer prices. Companies like AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Bayer, and Cardinal Health hold a substantial market share in the Europe OTC drugs market.

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Table Of Contents


    1. 1.1 Study Deliverables

    2. 1.2 Study Assumptions

    3. 1.3 Scope of the Study




    1. 4.1 Market Overview

    2. 4.2 Market Drivers

      1. 4.2.1 Increasing Self-medication

      2. 4.2.2 Increasing New Product Launches

    3. 4.3 Market Restraints

      1. 4.3.1 High Probability of OTC Drug Abuse

      2. 4.3.2 Lack of Awareness

    4. 4.4 Porter's Five Forces Analysis

      1. 4.4.1 Threat of New Entrants

      2. 4.4.2 Bargaining Power of Buyers/Consumers

      3. 4.4.3 Bargaining Power of Suppliers

      4. 4.4.4 Threat of Substitute Products

      5. 4.4.5 Intensity of Competitive Rivalry


    1. 5.1 By Product Type

      1. 5.1.1 Cough, Cold, and Flu Products

      2. 5.1.2 Analgesics

      3. 5.1.3 Dermatology Products

      4. 5.1.4 Gastrointestinal Products

      5. 5.1.5 Vitamins, Mineral, and Supplements (VMS)

      6. 5.1.6 Weight Loss/Dietary Products

      7. 5.1.7 Ophthalmic Products

      8. 5.1.8 Sleeping Aids

      9. 5.1.9 Other Product Types

    2. 5.2 Geography

      1. 5.2.1 Europe

        1. Germany

        2. United Kingdom

        3. France

        4. Italy

        5. Spain

        6. Rest of Europe


    1. 6.1 Company Profiles

      1. 6.1.1 AstraZeneca PLC

      2. 6.1.2 Bayer AG

      3. 6.1.3 Boehringer Ingelheim International GmbH

      4. 6.1.4 Bristol Myers Squibb Company

      5. 6.1.5 Cardinal Health Inc.

      6. 6.1.6 GlaxoSmithKline PLC

      7. 6.1.7 Johnson & Johnson

      8. 6.1.8 Merck & Co Inc.

      9. 6.1.9 STADA Arzneimittel AG

      10. 6.1.10 Sanofi SA

  7. *List Not Exhaustive

**Competitive Landscape covers- Business Overview, Financials, Products and Strategies and Recent Developments

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