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Over-the-Counter Analgesic Market Share, Growth and Forecast by 2032

Over-the-Counter Analgesic Market Envisioned at USD 40.93 Billion by 2032

Status: Published Category: Therapeutic Area Insight Code: 5076 Format: PDF / PPT / Excel

The global over-the-counter analgesics market size was valued to grow from USD 28.6 billion in 2022 to reach an estimated USD 40.93 billion by 2032, expanding at a CAGR of 3.7% between 2023 and 2032, as a result of the rising consumer demand for self-care and increasing elderly population.

Over The Counter OTC Analgesics Market Size 2023 - 2032

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About 50% of the Aging Population Drives Growth in the Over-the-Counter Analgesic Market as the Preferred Choice for Pain Management

Over the past ten years, over-the-counter medicine usage has climbed from 19 to 21%. This results from increased over-the-counter analgesic usage from 10.0% to 12.2%. Over-the-counter analgesics act on the central nervous system to reduce pain without impairing consciousness. You can get these medications without a prescription. The market for over-the-counter analgesics is expanding daily for several reasons, including accessibility, price, and greater public awareness. In many nations, it is advised to classify over-the-counter medications as distinct and establish regulations around their use.

According to WHO, a product to be over-the-counter (OTC) is marketed for at least 5 years. Every country has a different time period for changing the category from prescription to OTC (e.g., Japan- 6 years, European Union- No specified time). Before accepting the switch from Prescription drugs to over-the-counter drugs, it did not cause serious Adverse Effects with increasing frequency during the marketing period till then. The Global market is expanding because OTC Analgesics provide accessible and cost-effective solutions for pain relief.

The aim to improve healthcare outcomes increases the demand for analgesics. NSAIDs, mild analgesics like salicylates, and strong analgesics like opioids are used to treat conditions like fever, cough, flu, coronavirus, period cramps, and arthritis.

Additionally, the production of abused NSAIDs and other analgesics has raised the demand for them globally. Global sales of analgesics are rising as a result of improvements in pain management and an increase in neuropathic and chronic pain.

Recent Advances Encouraging the OTC Analgesic Market's Expansion

The Pharmaceutical Industry's shifts and consumers' increasing health consciousness are driving changes in the over-the-counter analgesic market. The individuals now seek medication when they think a fever is a side effect. People who regularly take over-the-counter analgesic medications to treat recurrent pain are calling for more customized long-term solutions. This is in line with the expectations of the consumer base, which is focused on health and represents a larger innovation trend.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and other strategic responses to changing consumer needs, analgesic production is growing significantly. Drug delivery system innovations are vital in determining the efficacy and public opinion of over-the-counter (OTC) products. This emphasis on innovation helps differentiate and protect the unique features of different products.

One of the main reasons behind the continuous growth of the analgesics market is the increasing quantity of clinical trials that evaluate the efficacy and safety of various therapeutic medications. The rising incidence of ailments like arthritis, cancer, and cardiovascular disease among the elderly has a significant impact on market trends. The need for analgesic products is further increased by the ageing population, who frequently experience discomfort and joint pain. Looking ahead, the analgesics market forecast period offers profitable global expansion opportunities. Recent pharmaceutical advances, particularly in creating advanced analgesic drugs, emphasize this. Additionally, the industry's expansion and advancement are greatly aided by the consistent financial support provided by the government and the private sector to pharmaceutical manufacturing sectors and research and development programs. The upward trend reflects a changing healthcare landscape characterized by ongoing technological advancements and a dedication to satisfying the demands of a changing patient population.

Over-the-Counter Analgesic Market Expansion Driven by Prevalence of Chronic Diseases

The WHO estimates that only 14 out of every 100 people worldwide receive the required care. Approximately 40 million individuals worldwide need palliative care each year. Roughly 78% of these individuals reside in nations with weak economies. It demonstrates that many individuals who might benefit via care during life-threatening illnesses may not receive it, particularly in areas with limited resources. Self-medication, the growing practice of people caring for themselves without moving to a doctor, has a big effect on the market. Up to 90% of people engage in this practice in developing regions. Unfortunately, a variety of factors, including environmental, political, and cultural influences, influence people's decision to self-medicate for illnesses and symptoms. Research has identified common health conditions such as fever, allergies, common colds, heartburn, diarrhoea, headaches, and joint pain as the main causes of OTC analgesic use. In addition, the prevalence of cardiovascular disease and osteoarthritis has considerably increased, driving up sales of over-the-counter analgesics.

The pharmaceutical and healthcare industries stand to gain significantly from this trend toward over-the-counter treatments. The requirement for over-the-counter medications and related supplies is projected to rise as more people self-medicate, which will promote market expansion. Numerous factors, such as the prevalence of the condition, aging, accessibility, cultural norms, and the need for prompt relief from the condition, are responsible for this phenomenon. To take advantage of the growing market, businesses in this sector must be aware of these trends.

For Instance,

  • In a cross-sectional descriptive study carried out in Spain People, the results showed that 78.9% of the subjects had previously taken or were currently taking OTC drugs. This consumption decreased as the age of the subjects increased, with a prevalence of 36.4% of subjects aged ≥ 71 taking OTC drugs. More women, young people without much formal education, and those with lower to medium incomes they are more frequently use pain relievers the most among the over-the-counter drugs (49.1%). Measures should be implemented to optimise the safe use of OTC drugs.

The OTC analgesic drug market is influenced by the prevalence of various conditions that relieve pain. Some critical diseases and health conditions contributing to the demand for OTC analgesics include:

Disease Treatment By OTC Analgesics

The prevalence of these health conditions underscores the importance of OTC analgesics in providing accessible and effective pain relief for a wide range of individuals experiencing various ailments.

Level Of Dental Pain Relief By OTC And Prescription Drug

According to a recent study, the vast majority (98%) of 1,040 individuals reported some level of pain relief by consuming either over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription (Rx) analgesic drugs. The study looked especially at the efficacy of four common over-the-counter analgesics: ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen, and aspirin.

OTC Analgesic Market Thrives with Aging Population and their Increasing Demand

In 2019, Approximately 94,820 senior citizens were given at least one analgesic medication. Due to the prevalence of severe chronic pain, an increasing number of senior citizens are turning to over-the-counter pain relief. About 20% of adults worldwide already cope with pain-related problems, and more than 10% of the worldwide population accounts for new cases each year. OTC analgesic sales are increasing as a result of this expanding trend.

Age Category Wise Use Of OTC Analgesics

OTC salicylate and acetaminophen are most commonly taken by the elderly population, whose demand has increased as a result of chronic illnesses and irreversible health conditions like joint pain. Growing public awareness of these possible problems may impede the expansion of over-the-counter pain relievers. Different analgesics are needed for their treatment, driving the market's expansion.

Elderly people also frequently use weak and strong opioids, along with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). When faced with multiple health conditions (comorbidities), the elderly are increasingly turning to self-medication; in particular, they are using over-the-counter (OTC) analgesics from private pharmacies as their primary source of medication.

The need for over-the-counter (OTC) analgesics is growing among the elderly, supporting the market's growth. There is a growing market for over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers due to the increased demand for alternatives without a prescription. Companies hoping to succeed in this market segment will need to comprehend and address the unique healthcare needs of the ageing population, including easily accessible and efficient pain management solutions.

For Instance,

  • In 2020, the European Medicine Agency (EMA) suggested using Common Analgesics like NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories), paracetamol and ibuprofen to treat mild symptoms of COVID-19 in the lowest dose form. Additionally, the need for analgesics is rising as an increasing number of elderly people choose self-medication over visiting hospitals.
  • In 2021, According to WHO, 2021, 296 million individuals (or 5.8% of the world's population between the ages of 15 and 64) reported using drugs at least once. Of them, 60 million or so were opioid users.

OTC Drug Market is indeed Facing Challenges for Growth due to Concerns about the Safety and Overuse of Certain Medications

The CDC estimates that overuse of over-the-counter analgesics causes 115 deaths per day in the United States. The common people frequently uses over-the-counter (OTC) analgesics to treat pain and discomfort. Although these medications are remarkably safe, major side effects are possible. Analgesics are regularly used by up to 70% of people in Western countries, mainly for headaches and other relevant pains and common conditions. OTC analgesic medication use has a strong association with psychiatric disorders, specifically depressive symptoms. It is also commonly used to treat dysphoric mood states and insomnia. Abuse is defined as taking more than 4 grams of acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) or acetaminophen per day for an extended period. Individuals who abuse over-the-counter painkillers may require more potent therapies for dysthymia, depression, or chronic pain. It is necessary to look into the possibility that these medications have subtly reinforcing effects. Phenacetin undoubtedly had intoxicating effects; in fact, it was withdrawn from sales in the 1970s.

It is essential to educate people about alternative pain management techniques and the possible connection between excessive use of over-the-counter analgesics and mental health problems. When it comes to directing patients toward safe and efficient treatments for conditions like depression, chronic pain, or other related issues, healthcare providers are essential. advancing public health and making sure that people receive the right treatment for their discomfort and pain requires an understanding of and commitment to addressing the underlying causes of excessive over-the-counter analgesic use.

Excessive and Inappropriate use of Medication can lead to:

Regulatory Scrutiny Increase misuse may attract regulatory attension, authority will impose stricter regulation , which can affect availability and marketing of OTC Analgesics.
Product Restriction Authority might impose restriction on OTC Analgesics or their components if abuse become a significant issue.
Market Perception Overuse and misuse of OTC drug turns the reputation, leading consumer to question their safety and efficacy. This negative impact will decline the sale of OTC Analgesics.
Increased Oversight Cost Manufacturer and sellers may face increased cost associated with implementing measures to prevent abuse, such as enhance packaging, monitoring and education campaigns.

Management of Chronic Pain by using Advancing OTC Analgesic:

The CDC estimates that 51 million Americans suffered from prolonged pain in 2021, making the condition's effective treatment a public health necessity. Opioids are still frequently prescribed, considering that many analgesics are known to be effective in treating pain; 22% of patients with chronic pain use a prescription for opioids. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) and acetaminophen are two more commonly used oral therapies for chronic pain.

About 20% of people in the developed world suffer from chronic pain, a complex disorder that has psychological as well as physical symptoms. Manage by treating mild to moderate pain, nonopioid analgesics are typically used first. It makes sense to add a mood stabilizer with analgesic properties if this is insufficient and there is a possibility of sleep deprivation. A trial using one of the gabapentinoids would be suitable if fibromyalgia or neuropathic pain are present. It may be necessary to add an opioid analgesic if these measures prove insufficient. An early long-term opioid trial would be started for mild to severe pain. Topicals and skeletal muscle relaxants may be suitable in their own right.

For Instance,

  • The American Heart Association recommends patients with coronary artery disease take acetaminophen, nonacetylated salicylates, and even short-term opioids rather than NSAIDs, especially COX-2 agents. Like NSAIDs, acetaminophen has analgesic and antipyretic properties, but it does not specifically reduce inflammation. Although acetaminophen has a slightly worse analgesic profile than NSAIDs, its better safety record and lower cost make it a reasonable first-line option.
  • There is growing evidence that patients with chronic pain may benefit from the use of controlled-release opioid analgesics. In patients with nociceptive and neuropathic pain, opioids were found to be more effective than placebo for both pain and functional outcomes in a recent review of 41 randomized controlled studies involving 6,019 patients.
  • In 2020, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration launched Analgesic Clinical Trial Innovations, Opportunities, and Networks (ACTION), a public-private partnership intended to facilitate the discovery and development of analgesics with improved efficacy, safety, and tolerability for acute and chronic pain.

Various factors such as patient characteristics, clinical trial methodology and methods, outcome measures, data analysis approaches, and statistical power may contribute to the challenges encountered in proving the superiority of effective analgesic treatments over placebo. A evidence-based strategy for the design of analgesic research studies may be established by identifying particular trial characteristics linked to assay sensitivity in the available data.

Investing in research on the appropriate areas and raising awareness about chronic pain can help develop more precise analgesics and shorten the time it takes for patients to receive a diagnosis. Research projects that incorporate patient involvement and gain a deeper understanding of diseases have a significantly higher chance of success. The following guidelines are essential for the success of analgesic innovation.

Type of Drug Segment Drives Growth in Over-the-Counter Analgesic Market:

  • Acetaminophen is primarily given as 1st line treatment of Joint Pain. It is used as a pain reliever and fever reducer. it relieves mild-to-moderate pain from conditions such as headache, muscle pain, and toothache; acetaminophen has minimal anti-inflammatory effects. Those patients are not able to tolerate NSAIDs in that case, acetaminophen is given. Market growth is rising due to safety, efficacy, availability, and consumer familiarity, which helps to grow the OTC Analgesics Market.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are commonly given in chronic pain to reduce inflammation and lower fever. The common indication includes it treats Arthritis, Muskoskeletan injuries and migraines. In the OTC Analgesic Market, NSAIDs contribute to growth by offering consumers accessible pain relief options without a prescription. Their effectiveness in managing various types of pain has led to widespread use, Contributing to the expansion of the OTC Analgesic Market.
  • Salicylate is the Derivative of Acetyl salicylic Acid it includes Aspirin. They have anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic properties. In the OTC Analgesics Market, Salicylates contribute to growth by being a key component in many pain relief conditions. Aspirin is a widely used and available OTC drug, contributing to the market’s expansion due to its versatility in addressing various conditions.

Geographical Landscape:

For several important reasons, North America dominates the over-the-counter (OTC) analgesics market. Initially, the demand for over-the-counter analgesics is driven by the region's well-established healthcare infrastructure and high consumer health awareness. The ageing population and the frequency of chronic pain conditions also influence sustained usage. Strong pharmaceutical laws protect consumers by guaranteeing product safety and quality. Manufacturers engage in broad advertising and marketing campaigns to encourage consumption further. Lastly, North America's stronghold in the OTC analgesics market is further cemented by the presence of well-known pharmaceutical manufacturers and the broad availability of OTC products in retail stores.

Over-the-counter medications in the U.S. are the most frequently used, In 2020, According to the National Health and Institute, over 80 classes of over-the-counter medications, totalling up to 1,000,000 marketed products, are available in the United States. OTC medications are thought to save the US economy $102 billion annually, of which $25 billion is attributed to their use and $77 billion to avoid needless hospital stays. As a result, the demand for OTC analgesics is expected to increase in the US.

According to the US FDA, OTC drugs should fulfil the following criteria:

  • Good Benefit-Risk Ratio
  • Minimal Abuse and Misuse Potential
  • Consumer Awareness of its Use, and Sufficient Labelling

The status of EU member states, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has divided pharmaceuticals into two groups: prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs. In the UK and Germany, nonprescription medications are separated into pharmacy and general sales categories. Pharmacy medications are available without a prescription, but they should only be distributed under the surveillance of a licensed pharmacist because they cannot be chosen on your own. Germany makes up the largest portion of Europe's OTC market.

The three main drivers of growth in the region are China, Japan, and India. In terms of over-the-counter drug sales, the Asia Pacific market is one of the most rapidly expanding worldwide. The share is predicted to rise significantly throughout the forecast period. The growing older population and better healthcare facilities are predicted to drive regional market expansion. Additionally, as chronic diseases become more common, pharmaceutical companies are more likely to switch from prescriptions to over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. This trend is primarily responsible for the market growth in this region.

Competitive Landscape:

Several multinational pharmaceutical companies, including Bayer AG, Boehringer Ingelheim International GmbH, Johnson & Johnson, Haleon PLC, Novartis AG, Dr Reddy's Laboratories Ltd., Sanofi SA, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., and Viatris Inc., are major players in the competitive landscape of the over-the-counter analgesic market. A big part is also played by generic and branded labels, which provide affordable substitutes. Market positioning is influenced by regulation components, marketing tactics, and product innovations, particularly on analgesic formulations like salicylate, acetaminophen, and NSAIDs. Global market trends, consumer preferences, and distribution channels influence OTC analgesic market competitiveness.

Companies are attempting to take a few critical actions to obtain an edge in competition. They're investing more in research and development, creating creative and original solutions, bringing them to market, collaborating with other businesses, and providing distinctive amenities. These tactics aid their mutual establishment and enable them to outperform their rivals.

Recent Development:

  • In January 2022, CV Sciences Inc . announced the launch of a new class of OTC Analgesics. The +CBD Analgesics is equipped with hemp-derived CBD aimed at soothing minor pains and consist of four unique product to choose from.
  • In 2021, the FDA approved Topical Diclofenac as an NSAID analgesic for treating Knee osteoarthritis.
  • In March 2021, Hisamitsu America announced FDA approval for the over-the-counter use of Solanpas Arthritis Analgesic Gel, the most prescribed analgesic gel clinically proven for joint pain.

Over-the-Counter Analgesic Market Companies:

  • Bayer AG
  • Boehringer Ingelheim International Gmb
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Haleon PLC
  • Novartis AG
  • Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd
  • Sanofi SA
  • Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd
  • Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd
  • Viatris Inc.

Over-the-Counter Analgesic Market Segments:

By Type of Drug

  • Acetaminophen
  • Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Salicylates
  • Other Analgesics

By Route of Administration

  • Oral
  • Topical
  • Others

By Distribution Channel

  • Hospital Pharmacies
  • Retail Pharmacies
  • Online Pharmacies
  • Other Distribution Channels

By Geography

  • North America
    • U.S.
    • Canada
  • Europe
    • U.K.
    • Germany
    • France
    • Rest of Europe
  • Asia-Pacific
    • China
    • India
    • Japan
    • South Korea
    • Rest of Asia Pacific
  • Latin America
    • Brazil
    • Rest of Latin America
  • Middle East & Africa (MEA)
    • Saudi Arabia
    • UAE
    • South Africa
    • Rest of the Middle East & Africa

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About The Author

Deepa has certified the degree of Master’s in Pharmacy in the Pharmaceutical Quality Assurance department from Dr D.Y. Patil College of Pharmacy. Her research is focused on the healthcare industry. She is the author or co-author of four Review Articles, which include Solid dispersion a strategic method for poorly soluble drugs and solubility improvement techniques for poorly soluble drugs, Herbal Drugs Used In Treatment Of Cataracts, Nano sponges And Their Application in Cancer Prevention and Ayurvedic Remedies of Peptic ulcer. She has also published a Research Article on the Formulation and Evaluation of Mucoadhesive Tablets of Miconazole cocrystal which was published in GIS Science Journal Volume 9 Issue 8. Her passion for secondary research and desire to take on the challenge of solving unresolved issues is making her flourish is the in the research sector.


Acetaminophen is the most frequent drug given for the treatment of pain. Those are not tolerated by Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) in that case, it acts as the Choice Drug for the treatment. Salicylate is the derivative of acetylsalicylic acid, which includes aspirin. They have anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic properties. In the OTC Analgesics Market, Salicylates contribute to growth by being a key component in many pain relief conditions. Aspirin is a widely used and available OTC drug, contributing to the market’s expansion due to its versatility in addressing various conditions.

Bayer AG, Boehringer Ingelheim International Gmb, Johnson & Johnson, Haleon PLC, Novartis AG, Dr Reddys Laboratories Ltd, Sanofi SA, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, Viatris Inc.

Overuse and misuse of OTC Analgesics leads major adverse effect like Insomnia, dysthymia, depression. Excessive and Inappropriate medication use can lead to Regulatory Scrutiny, Product restriction and Increased Oversight Costs these factors are responsible for restraining the OTC Analgesic Market.

National Institute of Health, United States-Food and Drug Administration, Economic Research Services U.S. Department of Agriculture, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences, Elsevier Publication, World Health Organisation, USAGov.