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

The Indian Over-the-counter (OTC) Drugs Market is Segmented by Product (Cough, Cold, and Flu Products, Analgesics, Dermatology Products, Gastrointestinal Products, Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements (VMS) and Other Products) and Distribution Channel (Hospital Pharmacies, Retail Pharmacies and Other Distribution Channels). The report offers the value (in USD million) for the above segments.

Market Snapshot

Indian over-the-counter drugs (OTC) market overview
Study Period: 2021- 2026
Base Year: 2020
CAGR: 9.2 %
Indian over-the-counter drugs (OTC) market key players

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Market Overview

The Indian over-the-counter drugs (OTC) market is poised to grow at 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 APIs from China. The lockdown has slowed production of APIs resulting in less availability and higher costs for the materials required for the products. Owing to the high demand for the essential OTC drugs, the government has restricted the export of some of 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 lot of difficulties. Many of the essential OTC drugs are not available. Even after the specific guidelines and support of state government to transport the essential OTC drugs, many of the retail pharmacies are facing the shortage of stock. On the other hand, the online purchase of the 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 polices. For instance, in April 2020, the Medical and Health Department of Andhra Pradesh has launched 'Covid Pharma', a mobile application to keep a 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 inclination of pharmaceutical companies toward OTC drugs from prescription (RX) drugs.

Self-medication is the act of taking medicines designed and labelled for use in the treatment of common health problems without the prescription of a physician. The 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 the study published in the International Journal of Community Medicine and Public Health, in 2018, on Self-medication practices in urban and rural areas of western India: a cross-sectional study, being from urban areas and having chronic disease was associated with the likelihood of consuming medicines without a prescription. However, self-medication was also seen to be based on income, occupation and education. According to the article published in Current Clinical Pharmacology, in November 2019, overall mean prevalence of self medication (SM) practices in India was 53.57%. Familiarity with the medication appears 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. Furthermore, self-medication is seen as important for acute disorders and management of chronic diseases including minor ailments. Also, some of the critical reasons considered by the consumers to self-medicate are lack of time, need for fast relief, high consulting fees of the physicians, and many others. 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.

Scope of the Report

As per the scope of the report, over-the-counter drugs are referred to the non-prescription drugs. These medicines can be bought by individuals without a doctor’s prescription and are safe for consumption without the doctor’s consent. There are a wide number of therapeutic applications for OTC drugs ranging from weight control drugs to analgesic drugs.

The Indian Over-the-counter (OTC) Drugs Market is Segmented by Product (Cough, Cold, and Flu Products, Analgesics, Dermatology Products, Gastrointestinal Products, Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements (VMS) and Other Products) and Distribution Channel (Hospital Pharmacies, Retail Pharmacies and Other Distribution Channels). The report offers the value (in USD million) for the above segments.

By Product
Cough, Cold, and Flu Products
Dermatology Products
Gastrointestinal Products
Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements (VMS)
Other Products
By Distribution Channel
Hospital Pharmacies
Retail Pharmacies
Other Distribution Channels

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Key Market Trends

The Analgesics Segment is Expected to Register the Largest 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 self-medication of analgesics. According to the article published in Indian Journal of Palliative Care in October 2018, Indian adults' population survey about Chronic Pain (CP) found a higher prevalence of CP as compared to other Asian pain prevalence studies. The major OTC analgesics, used in India, include acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like Aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen. The rising trend of self-medication with OTC analgesics and launch of the new products projected to boost the market growth. In January 2018, Sanofi launched Combiflam Icyhot an over-the-counter product in gel and spray format in India.

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.

Indian over-the-counter drugs (OTC) market trends

Indian over-the-counter drugs (OTC) market growth

Competitive Landscape

The 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 startegic alliances such as acquisitions, collaborations along with launch of advanced products to secure the position in the market. For instance, in August 2019, Emami Limited announced that they will launch OTC products like baby massage oil, cough and cold products, laxatives, digestives, memory booster and red toothpowder over the next year.

Recent Developments

In December 2020, GSK consumer healthcare announced that it will be creating a new nasal decongestant portfolio under the Otrivin brand in India. It also introduced a new product called Otrivin Breathe Clean Daily Nasal Wash.

In April 2020, Cipla Health announced that it had partnered with Swiggy, Zomato and Dunzo for home deliveries of over-the-counter wellness products in India.

Table of Contents


    1. 1.1 Study Assumptions and Market Definition

    2. 1.2 Scope of the Study




    1. 4.1 Market Overview

    2. 4.2 Market Drivers

      1. 4.2.1 Shift toward Self Medication by Consumers

      2. 4.2.2 Product Innovations

      3. 4.2.3 Inclination of Pharmaceutical Companies toward OTC Drugs from RX Drugs

    3. 4.3 Market Restraints

      1. 4.3.1 Price Cuts for Various Ingredients and Restrictions for Advertising

      2. 4.3.2 Lack of Specific Regulations for OTC Drugs

    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

      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, Minerals, and Supplements (VMS)

      6. 5.1.6 Other Products

    2. 5.2 By Distribution Channel

      1. 5.2.1 Hospital Pharmacies

      2. 5.2.2 Retail Pharmacies

      3. 5.2.3 Other Distribution Channels


    1. 6.1 Company Profiles

      1. 6.1.1 GlaxoSmithKline PLC

      2. 6.1.2 Emami Limited

      3. 6.1.3 Abbott Laboratories

      4. 6.1.4 Dabur India Limited

      5. 6.1.5 Procter & Gamble

      6. 6.1.6 Reckitt Benckiser

      7. 6.1.7 Sun Pharmaceuticals Limited

      8. 6.1.8 Cipla Inc.

      9. 6.1.9 Takeda Pharmaceutical Company

      10. 6.1.10 Johnson & Johnson

    2. *List Not Exhaustive

**Subject to Availability
**Competitive Landscape Covers - Business Overview, Financials, Products and Strategies, and Recent Developments

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Frequently Asked Questions

The India Over the Counter Drugs (OTC) Market market is studied from 2021 - 2026.

The India Over the Counter Drugs (OTC) Market is growing at a CAGR of 9.2% over the next 5 years.

Emami Limited, Dabur India Limited, Procter & Gamble, Abbott Laboratories, GlaxoSmithKline PLC are the major companies operating in India Over the Counter Drugs (OTC) Market.

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